A NEOPHYTE lawmaker had already filed and lobbied bills aimed at helping the people of Mindanao.

Representative Maximo Rodriguez of party-list group Abante Mindanao said he had filed a medicines bill during the first session that hopes to provide free medicines such as analgesics in all barangay health centers in Mindanao.

Post your reaction to the Manila hostage crisis

"If the government can provide free dental check-ups, then why we can't afford to give free basic medicines, especially to the hinterland barangays?" Rodriguez said.

He said each barangay center must also be changed to health units to operate 24 hours with complete lying-in and other medical facilities.

Rodriguez said his next move is to lobby a bill that would abolish the "exorbitant" power rate increase particularly in Mindanao along with Representative Jose Benjamin Benaldo (1st district, Cagayan de Oro).

"As we recall few months ago, Mindanao has experienced a double increase in electricity rates that causes our pockets to bleed," Rodriguez said.

He added few weeks from now, he and Benaldo would file for a "formal investigation" against the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), citing the agency's "silence" on the power issue despite repeated summons and letter requests.

"The ERC must answer our request. Otherwise, the committee will conclude that there is something fishy going on inside the ERC," Rodriguez said. (Nicole J. Managbanag)