Legislative Excellence An Overview of the First Year of Jerry Treñas Legislative Performance as the Representative of the Lone District of Iloilo City

He may only be a rookie Congressman, but Jerry Treñas is already one of the most prolific lawmakers in the House of Representatives. With an impressive 95 House Measures under his belt in just his first year of being the Representative of the Lone District of Iloilo City, Congressman Treñas proved that even a neophyte legislator can make a huge impact in Congress.

Aside from his numerous House Measures, Congressman Treñas is also actively involved in 8 House Committees (Chairman of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability; Vice-Chairman of both the Committees on Local Government and Trade and Industry; member of the Committees on Appropriations, Ecology, Energy, Ways and Means and Information Communications Technology).

Yet despite his extremely busy schedule due to his active participation in all of his House Committees, Congressman Treñas still managed to file quite a number of House Measures of both local and national importance. He is the principal author of 40 House Measures (26 bills and 14 resolutions). Of the 26 bills he filed as a principal author, 20 were of local importance to his Congressional District. Sixteen bills converting Iloilo City streets currently classified as city roads into national roads were already approved by the Committee on Public Works and High Ways and have passed 2nd reading in the plenary of the House. A bill reapportioning Iloilo City in order for the city to have an additional Congressional District and a bill converting the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology into a State University (to be known as the Iloilo State University) were already passed by the House of Representatives and transmitted to the Senate.

He also filed a bill creating the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC), which shall strengthen the existing development council and serve as its organic law. Congressman Treñas also filed a bill declaring August 25 of every year as a special non-working holiday in celebration of the Iloilo City Charter Day. This proposed bill was already approved by the Committee on Revision of Laws.

In order to strengthen the autonomy and revenue generation of local governments, the Iloilo City Representative filed a bill that will require 100% of the taxes on all the sales recorded by the principal offices of businesses to be go to the city or municipality where the actual factory, project office, plant and plantation are located. Presently, only 70% goes to the local governments. To further support the local governments, Congressman Treñas also filed a bill to include the local Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) office as one of the members of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils. This shall allow the Council, through the active participation of the local DILG, to pursue better means to effectively respond to the needs of the people in times of disasters or crises.

In addition to his local bills, the Iloilo City Solon also authored several key measures of national importance. He is the principal author of a bill defining the crimes of extralegal killing and enforced disappearance. This bill was filed in response to the spate of politically-motivated killings and abductions, and the pervasive execution of media men all over the country. Taking to account the rising incidents of gang related crimes involving the youth, he also authored a bill to deter children from engaging in criminal activity and punish the organizers and officers of criminal juvenile organizations. The proposed Protection Against Juvenile Criminal Exploitation Act shall hold liable minors aged 12 and above who engage in prohibited activities, lowering the minimum age for criminal liability.

The Iloilo City Solon also filed a bill to exempt the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) from taxation. The CDIA performs an important role in the development of Iloilo City and numerous other cities in the Philippines. It provides the local government of a city with the necessary technical assistance in the various stages of local projects, which can be funded through Public-Private Partnerships.

Answering the call of the various airlines operating in the Philippines, Congressman Treñas filed a bill to eliminate the grossly onerous tax regimes imposed upon foreign airlines operating in the Philippines. The proposed bill shall eliminate the unfair tax regimes imposed upon foreign airlines which have caused the drop of non-stop connections from the Philippines to the United States and Europe.

Keeping in mind the duty of Congress to be vigilant against practices that are contrary to the interests of their constituents, the Iloilo City Congressman filed a total of 14 House Resolutions. Congressman Treñas initiated the investigations on the alleged exorbitant power rates in Iloilo City, the implementation of the Climate Change Law, the questionable fees collected by hospitals from volunteer nurses, the inability of bus companies to abate the endless bus accidents caused by poorly disciplined bus drivers, and the inability of law enforcement agencies to stop the wave of carnapping incidents all over the country. He also filed resolutions strongly urging the concerned government agencies to construct bridges that shall link the islands of Panay, Negros and Guimaras through Public-Private Partnership. As part of his health consciousness drive, the Iloilo City Solon filed a resolution declaring June 1 of every year as the national dengue awareness day.

Two resolutions filed by Congressman Treñas commending Iloilo City were approved by the House – a resolution commending Iloilo City for illustrating the success of a strong Public-Private Partnership through the Dinagyang Festival and a resolution commending Iloilo City for emerging as the festival grand champion at the 2011 Aliwan Fiesta Street Dancing Competition.

Actively monitoring the measures filed by his fellow Representatives, Congressman Treñas co-authored 55 bills and resolutions during his first year in Congress. Among these measures include Republic Act No. 10147 (the General Appropriations Act of 2011) and Republic Act No. 10150 (extending the lifeline rate for electricity), both signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Several bills co-authored by the Iloilo City Congressman were passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate: House Bill 4061 (strengthening the fiscal autonomy of local governments by amending the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010), HB 3841 (amending the Intellectual Property Code), HB 4115 (protecting individual personal data in information and communications systems), HB 4410 (direct remittance to the host local government of its 40% share of the proceeds from the utilization and development of national wealth), HB 4146 (synchronization of ARMM elections – to be signed by President Aquino) and HB 4575 (encouraging and providing incentives for corporate social responsibility).

Congressman Treñas co-sponsored 16 resolutions, 11 of which were adopted by the House.

In only 73 official session days of the first regular session of the 15th Congress, the neophyte Iloilo City Congressman already authored or co-sponsored 95 House Measures. Congressman Treñas already proved that his dedication to his Constitutional duty as a legislator match, if not surpass, the commitment to public service he displayed as a three-term mayor of Iloilo City. Jerry Treñas is already making a huge impact in Congress in just his first year as the Representative of Iloilo City. Much can be expected of the new Iloilo City Representative, who is already making his mark as a skilled and passionate legislator in the halls of the Batasan.