Author: Pia

The Philippine Flag in the light of the Hijacking Incident

After the recent hijacking incident involving a military official who hijacked a bus load of foreign nationals and some Filipinos, another public uproar emerged when his casket was draped with the Philippine flag. I had twitted that I was of the view that this was inappropriate.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted the  Chinese embassy’s statement:

“The person who deserves a national flag at the funeral should be someone of heroism, decency and integrity, not someone who inflicts atrocity on innocent lives. This is nothing but a smear on the dignity of the Philippine national flag.”

PDI further  quoted   Director Leocadio Santiago Jr., the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office  saying that they did not give the Mendoza family the flag, but that if the family draped his coffin with a flag, they  could not forbid it.

Section 2 of Republic Act No. 8491 otherwise known as the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines”  states that:

“Reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem, and other national symbols which embody the national ideals and traditions xxx”

Sec 24 of the said law further states:

“The flag may be used to cover the caskets of the honored dead of the military  xxx”

The respect that must be accorded  our Philippine flag,  which the law states “embodies our national ideals and traditions” is blatantly disregarded when the flag is draped over the casket of  a person who caused the loss of lives of innocent people. To do so would be a distortion of our ideals and values as a people.  Likewise, Captatin Mendoza, cannot be considered an honored dead of the military. Consequently, the Philippine flag should not have been draped over his casket.

My Grandma Alvenia Schramm, the Original IronGirl

Monday, August 16, 2010.

Our beautiful and spunky 91 year old grandmother Alvenia Bassett Schramm, passed away at 1:44 this morning soon after our family gathered around her and told her it was time for her to go home and be with our grandpa.   



We sent her off with hugs and kisses, thanking her for all she had given us and telling her how much we loved her. She died while I was holding her close to me.





 As her doctor said, she was the original irongirl. I grew up with a grandma who every single morning, did sit-ups, jumping jacks and swam, then baked bread, cookies and muffins for all.   


 She was the original working girl too, cleaning other people’s houses when she was only in high school. She became a licensed beautician, then a baker and cook, working in the high school canteen.

With her parents and brother

Up to her 91st birthday, two months ago, she knitted hundreds of hand towels and baby booties and caps, baked cookies and muffins to give away as gifts to people she met. When I was a child, my grandma used to go skating with me, take me to the pool and later go on long walks with me. My brothers and I had such a happy childhood with a grandma who always had goodies waiting for us after school and made us pancakes with smiling faces. 


 At 86, she came to live with us here in the Philippines. We had lunch dates regularly in Alabang Town Center. Leading up to and during the grueling campaign, she was my source of peace and joy.


She lived an inspired life. She walked in God’s path and has now gone home to be with her creator and beloved husband Carl. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.



My grandmother, grandfather, mom and Aunt Carol


We have been blessed having her and will miss her painfully.

An ordinary day in the Senate


After being away from the senate because of the campaign and break, I find myself doing what I have been doing for 6 years… running down the hall of the 5 th floor, past the elevator to the stairwell to the 2nd floor. That’s where the session hall is. It’s faster that way. Plus healthier.

I’m running because I have to be on time for the roll call. Just like school, if you are not there when your name is called, you are marked “not present.”

So I made it. I’m seated in the front because  I’m a nerd. I get distracted in the back. In the front with me is the minority floor leader, Sen.  Alan on my left and Sen Joker Arroyo on my right.


That makes up the minority. The three of us. The role of the minority bloc is crucial in every democracy. We provide the check and balance. We are the fiscalizers.



During session, I raised two issues in connection with the filing of senate bills: 1. The antiquated system of filing bills where the staff lines up all day and night para lang mauna magfile ng bill. Waste of time and energy. Plus waste of paper in this day of modern technology. Buti pa ang University of the Philippines. When I was a student, we used to line up at dawn to get the subjects we want. Now, it’s all computerized, and 2. A lot of bills are refiled by a number of senators without acknowledging the principal author of the bill, some of whom are no longer members of the current Congress who have worked on the bills for a number of years. I believe it is only fair to acknowledge the work that other senators have put in. I asked the Committee on Rules to study this.


My clean table in the session hall


Talking to the Majority Floor Leader


Being interviewed on the role of the minority 


In an interview before the start of session in my office


The black propaganda

When I was in Davao, I met and sat down with some military officers. During our interaction, I had the chance to explain to them my programs for various marginalized sectors.  I also told them how sad I was to hear that there is a black propaganda circulating against me, wherein my statements about women empowerment have been twisted to make me look like I do not value the sacrifices of our soldiers. In several forums, I simply voiced out the sad plight of teachers and nurses whose salaries have historically been  lower than their counterparts in other fields such as engineering and military profession. It was a mere statement of fact, not in anyway meant to lessen my concern for others. 

At the Kapihan in Manila Hotel recently, in the presence of my co-candidate Capt. Mon-Mon Mitra and the Chief of Staff of Col. Ariel Querubin, I expressed my full support for their candidacy and said it is good that our soldiers continue to have a voice in the Senate. In the same vein, I am also the voice of the marginalized sectors like women, persons with disabilities and senior citizens. 

My concern for women does not in any way diminish my support for other sectors including soldiers. In fact, I have been visiting the men and women in uniform, supporting in particular, the concerns of our women soldiers. I have also pushed for more benefits for the widows of our soldiers. 

With women of the Philippine Military Academy
With women of the Philippine Military Academy
File photo of my visit to Camp Capinpin
File photo of my visit to Camp Capinpin
I wish I knew the motivation of the black propagandists but what is obvious is they want to alienate me from the military sector. But why? 

I reiterated to my new military friends in Davao of my continued support for the concerns of our soldiers. It’s the same assurance I tell our women soldiers whenever I have a chance to meet with them, that I will always be around to champion their causes as I encourage them to excel in their profession. 


Women in Uniform - an integral part of my women advocacy
Women in Uniform - an intergral part of my women advocacy

I would welcome more suggestions on how our government can better provide for the welfare of our soldiers, particularly, the women and uniform, and the widows and orphaned children of our fallen heroes.

where is pia now

Campaign Period. 2 weeks to go.

I am running for re-election.


In the last six years, I have worked on a number of key legislative measures which have been enacted into law. Among them are:

The Expanded Senior Citizens Act

The Cheaper Medicines Law

The Food and Drugs Administration Law

The Anti-Hospital Detention Law

The Expanded Breastfeeding Law

The Environmental and Education Awareness Act

The Magna Carta of Women

I also authored/sponsored a number of protected area laws, including the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and Mts. Banahaw – San Cristobal Protected Landscape.

I have made amendments to various bills to ensure that they are gender sensitive. These include the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Law, the National Disaster Risk and Management Law among others.


With respect to our national budget, I have made amendments increasing the budget for health care, environment, education and protection of women – such as doctors to the barrios programs, hospital equipment, water and air quality, and clean-up of the Bulacan river. I have also pushed for the release of the funding of major environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Water Act, and women laws such as the Magna Carta of Women and the Violence against Women and Children Act.


In the past 5 years, I have actively represented our country in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). I have been President of the Women Parliamentarians of the IPU for the last 2 years. I have chaired sessions for women parliamentarians in the United Nations and all over the world. I have brought back these experiences to my work in the senate. Many of my legislative work, including budgetary amendments are inspired by my exchanges with fellow legislators from all over the world.


It has been my greatest pride to represent our country as a Filipina legislator.

As I run for re-election, I present my accomplishment report to the Filipinos.  It will be my honor to serve once more.


I should have done this sooner. When I started a new blog, the intention was not to leave this blog. I just wanted to start a daily campaign blog where I could track my campaign over the next 90 days. I should have known I would not have time to go back to this blog for the time being.

The campaign has been going on for 78 days. There are 12 days to go.

I have done my part for the past six years, but there are still a lot to be done. Among others, we need to revisit the PhilHealth Law to ensure that our people will have access to quality but affordable health care. I also need to push for the passage of major environmental bills such as the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), Land Administration Reform Act (LARA), National Land Use Code (NLUC) and other protected areas.

I look forward to going back to the Senate with your support and vote.