‘Butanding bill’ wins House legislation drafting contest

Student participants to the first Bill Drafting Contest pose with officials of the House of Representatives, organizer of the competition, during the awarding ceremony for finalists on Oct. 4, 2017.

A BILL on the protection and conservation of whale sharks or “butanding” won in the first Bill Drafting Contest of the House of Representatives.

The bill titled “An Act Promoting The Protection And Conservation Of The Whale Sharks Within The Philippine Waters, Regulating And Maintaining Sustainable Ecotourism For Whale Shark Related Activities And Penalizing Illegal Whale Shark Tourism Activities, Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes” was drafted by TEAM JUSTIFIED of the University of San Carlos composed of students Joshua Monsanto, Kervin Jun Pablo and Elmer Tasong.

The team beat four other finalists by earning the highest score in three criteria: defense, 40 percent; content and technicality, 30 percent; and feasibility and practicality, 30 percent.

Each of the finalists delivered a sponsorship speech to defend their bill before a board of judges.

Getting first runner-up honor was the draft bill titled “An Act Establishing The Emission Cap-And-Trade System In The Energy Generation And Supply Sector To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions And To Protect The Environment” from TEAM PHILIPPINE WONKS! of the University of the Philippines-Diliman composed of Rovin James Canja, Jelor Gallego and John Cedrick Valencia.

Second runner-up was the draft bill “An Act Providing For The Protection Of Rights Of And Determination Of The Status Of Children Born Out Of Assisted Conception, Otherwise Known As ‘Declaration Of Rights And Status Of Children Of Assisted Conception Act Of 2017’” from TEAM SAN BEDA X of San Beda College composed by Vida Camille Flores, Elisa Angela Abillar and Angelo Ortiguera.

Third-runner up was the draft bill “An Act Promoting The Establishment Of Scrapping And Salvaging facilities For Surrendered Vehicles, And For Other Purposes” from TEAM SUPPLY of the University of Santo Tomas composed of Ean Dominique De Castro, Earl Christian Pelagio and Mark Anthony Ponce.

Fourth runner up was the draft bill “An Act Providing For A Mandatory Annual Waterways System Cleanup Drive Program In The Identified Flood-Prone Barangays In The Philippines Between The Months Of March To May, Providing Penalties, Appropriating Funds Thereof, And For Other Purposes” from TEAM SINAGTALA of the University of the Philippines-Manila composed of Amir Najim Pangcoa, Mayrll Louise Santos and Raven Ace Villanueva.

In his opening remarks during the awarding rites, House Secretary-General Atty. Cesar Strait Pareja said the bill drafting contest is one way to strengthen the role of the youth in nation-building through participatory policy making.

“Through this bill drafting contest which was initiated by the Office of the Speaker in collaboration with the House Secretariat Offices, we encourage the youth’s involvement in the legislative branch by letting them come up with legislative measures that are timely, well-researched, well-written and responsive to the people’s needs,” Pareja said.

Pareja hoped the experience would ignite the fire of genuine public service in each of the finalists.

The judges in the contest were Office of the Speaker Head Executive Assistant and Inter-Parliamentary and Public Affairs Department Officer-In-Charge Deputy Secretary General Atty. Darren De Jesus, Office of the Speaker Deputy Secretary General Alan Tan, Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department Director General Dr. Romulo Emmanuel Miral Jr., Legislative Operations Department Deputy Secretary General Artemio Adasa, Jr., Legislative Information Resources Management Department Deputy Secretary General Edgardo Pangilinan, Legal Affairs Department Officer-In-Charge Deputy Secretary General Annalou Nachura, Reference and Research Bureau Executive Director Rosario Amatong-Buendia, and Pareja.