Senator Sonny Angara was elected senator in 2013, placing sixth with 16 million votes. A lawmaker for more than 12 years, he is one of the most hardworking and productive member of Congress having already more than 60 laws under his belt. He is the Senate’s leading voice in advocating for income tax reform to raise the take-home pay of workers, and to make the tax system a tool for economic progress, social justice and happier families.
In the 17th Congress, Angara currently chairs the following committees:
- Local Government
- Ways and Means
As chairman of the ways and means committee, he has been a leading voice for the lowering of tax rates through the enactment of:
- Republic Act 10653 that increases the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other benefits;
- RA 10754 that exempts persons with disabilities (PWDs) from value added tax (VAT);
- RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which introduces reforms to Customs including the raising of the tax exemption ceiling of balikbayan boxes; and,
- RA 10708 or the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA) which promotes transparency and accountability in the grant and administration of tax incentives to registered business entities.
As former acting chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources, he shepherded the passage of laws to ensure better jobs and working conditions for Filipinos such as:
- RA 10691 or the amended Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act to help more Filipinos land a job especially in rural areas and poorer municipalities;
- RA 10706 or the Seafarers Protection Act that protects Filipino seafarers from abuse of ambulance chasers;
- RA 10801 or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Act that mandates greater representation of OFWs in OWWA and strengthens the reintegration program for returning OFWs;
- RA 10869 or the JobStart Philippines Act that helps the youth get a job by providing them job search assistance, free technical and life skills trainings, placement in internships, and job referrals;
- RA 10917 or the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) Act that includes out-of-school youth among the beneficiaries of SPES;
- RA 10771 or the Philippine Green Jobs Act;
- RA 10741 or the Act Strengthening National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC);
- RA 10789 and RA 10757 or laws adjusting the retirement age of race horse jockeys and surface mine workers.
He also chaired the Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports during the 16th Congress where he actively pushed for greater support for Filipino athletes. He is the sponsor of RA raised 10699 that the amount of financial incentives and benefits given to winning national athletes, and that would include athletes with disabilities in the grant of incentives. He is also the sponsor of laws establishing sports academies and training centers in Talisay, Cebu; Alfonso, Cavite; Dapa, Surigao del Norte; Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental; and, Tagum, Davao del Norte to hone the skills and raw talent of young athletes from the provinces and jumpstart grassroots sports development.
Like his parents, former UP and Senate President Edgardo Angara and history teacher Gloria Manalang, Sen. Sonny values education as a tool to fight poverty and ensure social mobility. He has pushed for laws that ensure greater access to education and scholarships for poor and deserving students, such as the Ladderized Education Act, the Open Learning and Distance Education Act, Youth Entrepreneurship Act, the Unified Student Financial Assistance System Act (UNIFAST), the law to include Filipino-Muslim history in the school curriculum, and the law requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training before graduation.
Angara was recognized as one of the most productive congressmen during his nine-year stint as a member of the House of Representatives, representing the province of Aurora from 2004 to 2013 and is proud of having been a part of the province’s transformation from a provincial backwater to a growing tourist, agribusiness and investment destination.
He authored many laws as a congressman including the Personal Equity and Retirement Account Act, the Credit Information System Act, the Pre-Need Code, the Magna Carta of Women, the Kasambahay law, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, the Salary Standardization Law 3 that raised the salaries of government workers including public school teachers, RA 9504 that exempts minimum wage earners from paying income taxes, the Tourism Act, the Universal Healthcare Act, and the Renewable Energy Act.
For his achievements, he was recognized as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men for government service and legislation in 2010.
Aside from being a legislator, he has also been a practicing lawyer, law professor, and column writer.
He took up his basic education at Xavier School, and finished his undergraduate degree in International Relations with honors from the London School of Economics. He finished his law degree at the UP College of Law, and earned his Master of Laws degree from the Harvard Law School.