otso diresto

This 3-part series highlights the science backgrounds and advocacies of the senatorial candidates in the upcoming 2019 Philippine elections.

Hey there, Filipino voter! How well do you know the 2019 senatorial candidates’ science-related advocacies?

These article cover the following areas of each candidate’s recent accomplishments and advocacies related to science policies: education, energy, food and agriculture, environment and sustainability, and healthcare. We’ve also included the candidates’ take on legalizing medical marijuana (House Bill No. 6517). 

In this installment, let’s take a look at the candidates under the Otso Diretso alliance.

Gary Alejano

Notable experience: Magdalo Party list Representative (2013 to 2019)

Science-Related Authored Bills and Resolutions:

Science Education

HB01135: An Act Requiring All Provinces And Highly-Urbanized Cities To Establish A Science High School

HB07830: An Act Increasing The Benefits Granted To Science And Technology (S&T) Personnel Of The Government, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 8439, Otherwise Known As The ‘Magna Carta For Scientists, Engineers, Researchers And Other S&T Personnel In The Government

HB07830: An Act Increasing The Yearly Allocation For Scientific And Technological Activities (Sta) And For Other Purposes

HB08690: An Act Regulating The Practice Of Environmental Engineering In The Philippines, And Providing Funds Therefor


HB05391: An Act Authorizing The Use Of The Special Fund To Finance The Maintenance, Rehabilitation, And Replacement Of Energy Infrastructure In Preparation For And In Response To Natural And Man-Made Calamities As Well As To Finance Direct Subsidy For Energy Consumption By End Users In Case Of Market Failure Thereby Amending Section 8 Of Presidential Decree No. 910

HB07094: An Act Establishing The Solar Energy Development Authority And Appropriating Funds Therefor

HB07099: An Act Promoting And Permitting The Use Of Waste-To-Energy Technology, Amending For This Purpose Republic Act Numbered 8749, Otherwise Known As The Clean Air Act Of 1999

HB08387: An Act To Strengthen The Jurisdiction And Power Of The Department Of Energy Over Petroleum Pipeline Operations And For This Purpose Provide A Petroleum Pipeline Code To Prescribe Standards For The Design, Construction, Operation And Maintenance And Abandonment Of Liquid Petroleum Pipelines And Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes

HB08869: An Act Allocating The Net National Government Share From The Malampaya Natural Gas Project For The Payment Of The Stranded Debts And Stranded Contract Costs Of The National Power Corporation And To Finance Further Exploration, Development And Exploitation Of Energy Resources To Lower Electricity Rates

Agriculture and Food

HB09105: An Act Promoting Integrated Urban Agricultural Development In All Metropolitan Areas Nationwide To Address Food Security Concerns And Appropriating Funds Therefor

HR01648: A Resolution Directing The Appropriate House Committee To Conduct An Investigation, In Aid Of Legislation, On The True State Of Our Country’s Rice Supply With The End In View Of Proposing Remedial Measures To Arrest Possible Shortage As Well As To Institute Policies To Improve Domestic Rice Production And Ensure The Country’s Food Security

HB05421: An Act Establishing A Farm Machinery Manufacturing Program And Appropriating Funds Therefor

HB07089: An Act Providing Post-Harvest Facilities To Rice Farmers

HB07100: An Act Institutionalizing The Young Farmers’ Program, Providing Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes

HB07835: An Act Establishing The Municipal Agriculture Information System

Environmental Protection

HB08727: An Act Requiring Parents To Plant Two (2) Trees For Every Child Born To Them

HB01154: An Act Requiring All Graduating Elementary, High School, And College Students To Plant At Least Ten (10) Trees Each As A Prerequisite For Graduation And For Other Related Purposes

HB07373: An Act Requiring The Planting Of Trees For Any Construction Of Residential, Commercial, Industrial And Public Building

HB05316: An Act Creating The National Environmental Protection Agency, Defining Its Powers, Functions, And Responsibilities; Appropriating Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes

HB05474: An Act Protecting The Environment Thereby Establishing A Basic Policy For Nature Restoration, Providing Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes

HB07090: An Act Institutionalizing Private Land Forestry To Enhance Reforestation And Environmental Protection And Providing Incentives Thereof, And For Other Purposes

HB08349: An Act To Adopt Integrated Coastal Management As A National Strategy To Ensure The Sustainable Development Of The Coastal And Marine Environment And Resources And To Establish Supporting Mechanisms For Its Implementation And Provide Funds Therefor

HR02163: A Resolution Extolling The Virtues Of Environmental Awareness And Promoting The Pursuance Of A More Balanced Ecology By Encouraging The Restoration Of Our Woodlands And Wetlands, In View Of The Spotting Of The Rare Blue-Winged Pitta In Liptong Woodland In Bacong, Negros Oriental

On Medical Marijuana: Not in favor.

Bam Aquino

Notable experience: Senator (2013-2019)

Science-Related Authored Bills and Resolutions:


RA 10931: Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act

SBN-2057: Teachers Compensation and Support Act of 2018 – An Act Enhancing the Compensation Structure and System of Support for All Teachers in Basic Education Institutions and Creating the Teacher Education Assistance Fund

SBN-1534: Magna Carta for Scientist, Engineers, Researchers – An Act Amending Republic Act No. 8439, Otherwise Known as the ‘Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other S & T Personnel in the Government

SBN-679: Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other S & T Personnel in the Philippines – An Act Amending Republic Act No. 8439, Otherwise Known as the “Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other S & T Personnel in the Government”

SBN-1533: Balik Scientist Act – An Act Institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purpose

SBN-1183: Balik Scientist Act– An Act Institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes [Consolidated/Substituted in the Committee Report (8/1/2017)]

SBN-1240: Provincial Science and Technology Directors Act – An Act Upgrading the Position of the Provincial Science and Technology Officer Into the Provincial Science Director in the Department of Science and Technology Amending Republic Act No. 6959, Appropriating Funds Therefore, and For Other Purposes

SBN-1127: Electrical Engineering Act – An Act Strengthening the Practice of Electrical Engineering in the Philippines and Instituting Higher Standards of Regulation in the Licensing and Registration of Electrical Engineering Practitioners

Energy and Sustainability

SBN-709: Electric, Hybrid and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles Promotions Act – An Act Promoting the Mainstream Use of Electric, Hybrid and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles and for Other Purposes

SBN-678: Electric, Hybrid and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles Promotion Act – An Act Providing Incentives for the Mainstream Use, Manufacture, Assembly and Conversion of Electric, Hybrid and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles and for Other Purposes

SBN-650: Plastic Bag Phase-Out Act – An Act Regulating Production, Sale, Use, Recovery, Recycling, and Disposal of Plastic Bags, Promoting the Use of Reusable Bags, Providing Mechanism for the Recovery, Collection, and Disposal of Plastic Bags, and For Other Purposes

SBN-647: Sustainable Transport Network Act – An Act Mandating the Development of a National Sustainable Transport Network Plan and the Creation of a Local Bikeways Office in All Local Government Units, Promoting the Shift to Sustainable Modes of Transportation, and For Other Purposes

SBN-2176: Comprehensive Atomic Regulation Act – An Act Providing for Comprehensive Atomic Regulation, Creating for the Purpose, the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission, and Appropriating Funds Therefor

SBN-711: Magna Carta for Workers in the Energy Sector of the Philippines – An Act Providing for a Magna Carta for Workers in the Energy Sector of the Philippines, Authorizing the Collection and Appropriation of Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes

SBN-175: Innovative Startup Act – An Act Creating the Innovation Council and Providing Benefits and Programs to Strengthen, Promote, and Develop the Philippine Startup Ecosystem

Food and Agriculture

SBN-357: Zero Food Waste Act – An Act Providing for a System of Redistributing and Recycling Food Waste to Promote Food Security

SBN-1454: Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act of 2017 – An Act Removing the Restrictions in the Registration of Land Titles Under Sections 118, 119, and Other Restriction Against Encumbrance or Alienation on Free Patents Issued Under Section 44 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 or the Public Land Act, as Amended

SBN-1233: Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act – An Act Creating the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund, Providing for its Management and Utilization, and for Other Purposes

Space Exploration

SBN-1983: Philippine Space Act – An Act Establishing the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and Creating the Philippine Space Agency, and for Other Purposes

SBN-1211: Philippine Space Act – An Act Establishing the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and Creating the Philippine Space Agency, and for Other Purposes


SBN-2167: Philippine Genetic Resources Access and Benefit-Sharing Act (Pgrabs) Act – An Act Strengthening the National Policy on Wealth Generation From Access, Benefit-Sharing From the Utilization of Philippine Genetic Resources and for Other Purposes

SBN-1850: National Integrated Cancer Control Act – An Act Institutionalizing a National Integrated Cancer Control Program and Appropriating Funds Therefor

On Medical Marijuana: Not in favor.

Chel Diokno

Notable experience: Presidential Adviser on Human Rights – Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Platforms for the environment, lifted from diokno.ph

“Panlima sa adyenda ko ang kalikasan at katarungan sa klima. Aaminin ko na hindi madaling pagsabayin ang wastong paggamit sa likas na yaman natin habang pinoprotektahan pa rin ito para sa mga susunod na henerasyon ng mga Pilipino. Pero obligasyon natin ito, at sa laki at lala ng mga sakunang dumarating sa atin, ang nakasalalay na dito sa usapin ng kalikasan at katarungan sa klima ay ang karapatan nating mamuhay. Kaya sa Senado, pagtutuunan ko ng pansin ang mga usaping konektado sa tubig, enerhiya, at pagmimina.”

On Medical Marijuana: In favor.

Samira Gutoc

Notable experience: Assemblywoman – ARMM Legislative Assembly; Journalist; Environmental Advocate

Samira Gutoc has been a staunch advocate of environmental protection long before her participation in the senatorial campaign, with a specific focus on solid waste management and sustainable solutions.

On Medical Marijuana: In favor.

Pilo Hilbay

Notable experience: Solicitor General – Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines (2015-2016)

On agriculture, lifted from otsodiretso.ph

“Kabilang sa nakarecover ng P60 bilyon na coconut levy funds sa gobyerno, upang magamit ng mga magsasaka.”

On Medical Marijuana: In favor.

Romy Macalintal

Notable experience: Election Lawyer; Senior Citizens Rights Advocate

On Medical Marijuana: Not in favor.

Mar Roxas

Notable experience: Secretary – Department of Interior and Local Government (2012-2015)

Science-Related Records:

Chairperson, Congressional Oversight Committee on Quality Affordable Medicines

Proponent of Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008

RA08479 – Oil Deregulation Act

From marroxas.com/platform:


We will ensure that farming is more profitable and sustainable by pursuing the equitable consolidation of landholdings. Targeted infrastructure development in rural areas will be pursued: post-harvest facilities in every town and farm-to-markets will be built to reduce wastage and maximize profit.

Cilmate Change

Improve resilience against climate risk – We will undergo regular assessment and refinement of DRRM plans to respond to changes in weather patterns, terrain and local resources and needs. More space will also be created for the community participation n the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the local DRRM plans.


We will revisit EPIRA and other laws in order to encourage greater competition in the energy market. Our goal is to diversify the energy mix, while ensuring that power is affordable, and that the baseload capacity can meet the rising demands of a growing economy and a growing population.

On Medical Marijuana: In favor.

Erin Tañada

Notable Experience: Deputy Speaker – House of Representatives (2004-2013)

Science-Related Authored Bills and Resolutions:

Energy, Environment, and Sustainability:

HB 2027 Renewable Energy Act – An Act Promoting The Development, Utilization And Commercialization Of Renewable Energy Resources And For Other Purposes

HB 1803 – An Act Establishing Marine Protected Areas In All Coastal Municipalities, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 8550, Otherwise Known As “The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998” and for other purposes (MPA Bill)

Agriculture (included in platform)

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program

Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund

On Medical Marijuana: In favor.

Stay tuned for the next installment. If we missed anything here, let us know! –MF


    • http://congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?id=alejano-g&pg=billsmain#tab
    • http://senate.gov.ph/lis/leg_sys.aspx?congress=17&type=bill&senator=APAOL&p=1
    • https://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections/2019/218038-cnn-philippines-senatorial-forum-stand-legalization-medical-marijuana
    • http://nine.cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/01/27/medical-marijuana-cnn-philippines-senatorial-forum.html
    • https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/1094249669146771457
    • https://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2014/06/my-my-marawi-talking-dirty-to-clean-up-the-city/
    • https://www.otsodiretso.ph/
    • https://erintanada.wordpress.com/house-bills-and-house-resolutions-filed-by-cong-erin-tanada/
    • https://diokno.ph/platform
    • http://marroxas.com/platform
    • https://news.abs-cbn.com/botomo/05/13/09/profile-manuel-mar-ii-araneta-roxas

Author: Jess Vilvestre

Jess is on her way to getting her license in engineering. On the side of studying, she spends her time writing, cooking, and watching movies and plays. Jess has also been working with an education project that capacitates STEM learners with portable science activity kits.