Top 10 Most Ridiculous Philippine Bills or Laws of 2013
Dear congressmen: Are you joking, or what?
(SPOT.ph) Laws are primarily created and, ultimately, enforced by social institutions to govern behavior and ensure a nation's development. They are stern guidelines which citizens, ideally, must adhere to. But in the Philippines, lawmaking, just like politics in general, is an entirely different story (sometimes like a badly written telenovela, and oftentimes, a slapstick comedy or a sitcom of sorts). There are laws which are plainly beneficial and carefully planned. There are those which will provoke a brow-raising reaction due to their ambiguity, downright absurdity, or both. But, what you really want to avoid are the ones that will make you cringe or shake your head in dismay.
And so to deviate from the notion of laws being too academic, formal, and even boring, we've come up with 10 of the most random bills our "prolific" legislators have filed for 2013. Those that made it to the list are not essentially useless and are not necessarily intended to piss you off. What they might do, however, is give you a good laugh or leave you utterly mystified. We're sure there are tons more, but we know you can only take in so much legislative information in one day.
Maybe this could have been prevented...
10. "An Act Declaring January 22 as National Farmers’ Day" a.k.a. "Magtanim ay ’di biro"
The 411: In July of this year, Anakpawis Party Representative Fernando Hicap filed House Bill No. 254 "declaring January 22 of every year as a special working holiday to be known as National Farmers’ Day." Unknown to most of us, January 22, 1987 is the anniversary of the tragic Mendiola Massacre, where 13 activists died fighting for their cause. We are not against farmers or their plight, but it just makes us wonder about how fishermen would feel about this...
The Status: This bill isn’t ready for harvest just yet, as it has been pending before the Committee on Revision of Laws since July 23, 2013. And we are still crossing our fingers for a special, non-working holiday to be dubbed as "National Employees Day."
A good deed goes a long way
9. "Day of Goodwill Act of 2013" a.k.a. "Goodwill hunting"
The 411: On July 3, 2013, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos" filed Senate Bill No. 412, otherwise known as "Day of Goodwill Act of 2013," declaring December 26 as a special, non-working holiday. Senator Bongbong, in his explanatory note, maintains that "in several countries, such as England, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, December 26 is celebrated as a public non-working holiday, popularly called as the "The Second Christmas Day," "Boxing Day," or "Day of Goodwill." Incidentally, December 26 is also the fateful day typhoon Sendong ravaged the country, which also prompted the good senator to file this bill.
The Verdict: An extra, non-working holiday in the calendar is definitely an act of goodwill, and we’re sure as hell not complaining! Let’s just see how this bill fares with the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture as it has been pending since September 17.
Hiphop abs is a good supplement to this bill
8. "Calorie Count Menu Act" a.k.a. "Thin is in"
The 411: Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago never struck us as the weight-conscious type, but it does seem like she wants to shed some pounds! On August 1, 2013, the noteable senator filed Senate Bill No. 1204, or the "Calorie Count Menu Act", which requires restaurants and other food establishments to include the number of calories a food item has in their menu.
The Status: This bill has a lot more working out to do because it’s been pending before the Committee on Health and Demography since August 23. Spare us the details, please. Sometimes, we just don’t want to know how much fat is in our chicharon bulaklak, thank you very much.
Tattoed on our minds
7. "Body Piercing and Tattooing Regulatory Act" a.k.a. "#medyobadlaw"
The 411: We can safely assume that she most likely wants to lose weight, and now we can confidently say that she doesn’t want to get inked as well! On September 5, 2013, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill No. 1563, or the "Body Piercing And Tattooing Regulatory Act." This bill, as the title indicates, proposes to "regulate body piercing and tattooing to protect the health and welfare of the public."
The Status: We can still hear the buzzing sound of the tattoo machine, as this bill will probably take about ten sessions before it officially gets inked on our Constitution. As of September 11, 2013, it is still pending before the Committee on Health and Demography.
Crysta from the animated film, Fern Gully, would definitely love this bill!
6. "Family Tree Planting Act of 2013" a.k.a. "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree..."
The 411: In July this year, Interaksyon.com reported that Parañaque 1st District Representative Eric Olivarez filed House Bill No. 261, or "Family Tree Planting Act of 2013." This bill stipulates that parents, whether married or not, must plant two trees for every child born to them. We get it. The effects of global warming are imminent, and something must certainly be done to prevent mother nature’s wrath, especially after typhoon Yolanda. But really, how on earth can the government ensure that every woman with a child will actually plant a tree after giving birth? Will the government create a specific department to monitor that the seeds planted actually grow into trees? What happens if plants die long before they become trees? Do parents have to plant again?
The Status: Because this bill is just too environment-friendly for its own good, it has been pending before the Committee of Reforestation since July 23, 2013. We know Representative Olivarez means well, but as for the actual feasibility of this bill...well, it has a lot more growing up to do.
Pushing for gender equality in the eyes of the law
5. "My Husband’s Lover Act" a.k.a "Ang akin ay akin lang"
The 411: GMA7’s telenovela, My Husband’s Lover, was such a huge phenomenon that it prompted Albay Representative Edcel Lagman to file House Bil No. 2352, colloquially referred to as the "My Husband’s Lover Bill", which seeks to penalize same-sex adulterers. According to the GMA News Online report, under our current constitution, a homosexual form of adultery cannot be penalized simply because there is no law which prohibits it.
The Status: This bill technically makes a whole lot of sense, if not for the name. Perhaps people would take it more seriously if Representative Lagman hadn’t named it after a telenovela. And yes, the gay cheater is still on the run and hasn’t been caught because this bill has been pending since August of this year.
If it’s processed, then it ain’t fresh
4. "Milk Nutrition and Labelling Act" a.k.a "Got milk?"
The 411: Last August, Philstar.com reported that Northern Samar 1st District Representative Harlin Abayon filed House Bill No. 231 which "prohibits the use of the label "fresh milk" in the packaging and sale of pasteurized and processed milk." While it is obvious that the milk we buy in groceries has undergone a process and is not literally fresh (as Representative Abayon would have it), maybe the congressman should have suggested a warning label, instead?
The Status: As of this writing, this bill is shelved and is nearing its expiration date. It’s been pending before the Committee on Trade and Industry since July this year. We can’t blame you for wanting your milk "fresh."
This is what’s gonna happen if this bill isn’t passed
3. "Tanning Facility Regulatory Act" a.k.a. "Tanning by a moment"
The 411: Either she has a lot of time on her hands or Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago just isn’t amenable to a lot of things--getting fat, inked, and now, getting dark! On October 14 of this year, the legislator filed Senate Bill No. 1845, otherwise known as the "Tanning Facility Regulatory Act," which bascially aims "to protect the public from the harmful effects of tanning equipments, and inform them of the risks involved in tanning."
The Status: This bill is still half-baked, pending before the Committee of Health and Demography since October 23, 2013. Tanning is not even that popular among Filipinos. So, is there really a need to pass this bill? You decide, while we bask in the sun.
Remember the word of the Lourd the next time you don’t finish your rice
2. "Anti-Rice Wastage Act of 2013" a.k.a. "Ang tunay na lalaki, hindi nag-hahalf rice"
The 411: We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all, we love our rice! So much so that most Filipinos can survive with two orders of rice and only a small serving of ulam to sate their appetite. But for those who are avid fans of dieting, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos’ Senate Bill No. 1863, or the "Anti-Rice Wastage Act of 2013" is definitely the bill to watch out for. This bill primarily proposes to penalize establishments which refuse to serve their customers less than a cup of rice. No way is this bill going to alleviate the prevalence of hunger in the country. Perhaps, what the good legislator should have done is file a bill which will uplift the condition of underprivileged and malnourished kids in the country. Definitely a hundred times better than picking on your local karinderiya for not serving your half rice.
The Status: This bill is currently being cooked at the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. It was filed on October 14, 2013 and is still pending as of October 23.
Can zombies be raped too?
1. "Anti-Necrophilia Act" a.k.a. "Bill barely breathing"
The 411: The highly controversial and infamous Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, along with her son, Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado Arroyo, re-filed the "Anti-Necrophilia" bill in July this year. The Arroyos want to criminalize the act of deriving sexual gratification from and copulating with corpses. Makes a tad bit of sense, right? Although this sick and heinous act is so uncommon in Philippine culture (practically unheard of) that our time would be better spent focusing on creating laws to discipline the living. For the full, breathing story, check out Inquirer.net.
The Status: This bill earned the top spot because we are completely baffled trying to think of why the Arroyos thought to propose this in the first place. Are there a lot of necrophilia cases in the Philippines that we don’t know about? Evidently, their co-legislators in Congress seem to be equally mystified because this bill still hasn’t been passed (it’s been filed twice already!). In the next lifetime, perhaps?