As Congress went on recess Thursday, lawmakers in both chambers pointed to their legislative accomplishments.
In a video message, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also renewed his call for unity as he lauded House lawmakers for their work.
“Remain united, determined, and passionate. Be the voice of the people and fulfill your duties as servant leaders in your respective districts and provinces,” the President said.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri branded the First Regular Session of the 19th Congress a success, citing “quality” measures that were approved while
Speaker Martin Romualdez thanked his colleagues for the “record-breaking” accomplishments in the House of Representatives.
“True to our tradition, we do not agree to proposals without discussion, nor embrace ideas without debate. We improve before we approve. We do not trade scrutiny for speed,” Zubiri said.
Romualdez, for his part, thanked his colleagues for their hard work and fidelity to their job.
“Each and every member of this august body truly deserves commendation for a job well done. Congratulations to all of us! When I assumed the post as your Speaker, I invited each one of you to support and join me in fulfilling the aspirations of the Filipino people. For readily heeding this call, I express my sincerest gratitude to everyone,” Romualdez said.
“The unity that we have shown in the performance of duty, and our relentless action in keeping the legislative mill grinding to full efficiency, are now reaping fruits for our beloved institution. Public opinion on the performance rating of the House of Representatives is fast reaching an all-time high,” the Speaker added.
Zubiri said six Senate measures were enacted into law—four of national application, and two local laws.
Twenty-two bills are now also for the President’s signature—seven of them national and 15 local. Two national bills are pending before the bicameral conference committee, and six more national bills have been approved on third reading.
“A highlight among our accomplishments is our approval of eight of the priority measures of the administration,” Zubiri said.
Three of these measures have already been passed into law-the SIM Registration Act, an Act Postponing the Barangay Elections, and the AFP Fixed Term Law.
Meanwhile, the measure on the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests on Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, the Regional Specialty Centers Act, the Extension of the Estate Tax Amnesty Act, and the Maharlika Investment Fund Act are awaiting the President’s signature.
The Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act has also been approved by the Senate on third reading. It needs only its House counterpart before it can move forward.
“While this scoreboard shows the quantity of our output, it does not describe the quality of each of these measures,” said Zubiri.
Indeed, the Maharlika Investment Fund only secured the Senate’s third reading approval at 2:32 a.m. on Wednesday, after an 11-hour marathon session taken up by extensive line-by-line amendments to the bill.
“All of the senators across the majority and the minority have toiled very hard, from their committee hearings to the rigorous debates and interpellations in plenary. If the Senate has had an excellent performance thus far, it is all thanks to them.”
Meanwhile, Speaker Romualdez said the House also performed its oversight function to find solutions to the country’s pressing problems, like the recent unwarranted increase in the price of onions.
He said due to the inquiry and work done by the committee on agriculture, the biggest onion cartel in the country has been dismantled and the price of the commodity has returned to its previous level.
The Speaker also thanked the other leaders of the House, including its senior deputy speaker, deputy speakers, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, committee chairpersons and vice chairpersons, the secretariat, and all employees for the chamber’s record accomplishments.
“As we close the First Regular Session, I wish that you will remain steadfast in your duty. Let us take this time to reenergize, reflect and reinvigorate our passion for public service,” he said.
The Speaker also expressed his gratitude to the political parties in the House for their commitment and cooperation in the approval of priority bills of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
Just a few days ago, the Romualdez-led Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) signed alliance agreements with each of seven national, local, and sectoral political groups in the House.
“I must also emphasize the importance of unity and cooperation among all our political parties. Pursuant to our shared vision of a strong republic, leaders of major political parties in this august hall have expressed their unwavering commitment to work together for the passage of the pro-people legislative agenda of President Marcos,” he said.
These groups are the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), National Unity Party (NUP), Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), Partido Navoteño, and Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP).