Improving lives House priority on Speaker Romualdez’s watch

June 7, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 266 views

Not divisive politics — Villafuerte

NATIONAL Unity Party (NUP) president and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has called for greater unity in Congress and the executive department, warning that political discord would only put at risk the superb level of cooperation and hard work by the supermajority alliance in the Legislature that has helped President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. get ahead in his first year in office on his vision for a prosperous and peaceful Philippines.

“Improving the lives of all Filipinos, as committed by President Marcos, is the priority in the House on the watch of Speaker Martin (Romualdez), in lieu of divisive politics, hence the need for greater unity,” he said.

Greater unity is crucial to sustaining the close working relationship of Malacañan Palace with Congress, most especially with the House of Representatives, which, under the leadership of the Speaker, had passed in a year’s time, a majority of the priority bills of President Marcos meant to put flesh into his ‘Agenda for Peace and Prosperity.’

“Lest we forget, 31 million Filipinos gave President Marcos the biggest ever electoral mandate in our history in 2022 after capturing their collective imagination with his call for national unity behind his Bangon Bayan Muli (BBM) pledge to lift all boats,” Villafuerte said.

“Our nation’s leaders would break faith with this broad and deep public support for national unity were we to waste our time with vacuous political discord that could only break apart the supermajority coalition in both the House and the Senate—and wreak havoc on the ‘Agenda for Peace and Prosperity’ of President Marcos to improve the lives of all Filipinos,” he said.

The former Camarines Sur governor said that in the House, for example, the culture of unity and hard work fostered by Speaker Romualdez—in support of the President and his BBM vision for sustainable and inclusive growth for all Filipinos—has enabled the bigger chamber to pass a record number of measures during the first regular session of the 19th Congress, notably 31 of the priority measures that Mr. Marcos had endorsed for urgent legislative approval.

Villafuerte said Romualdez was spot on in citing what he had described as the “impressive performance” of the House, considering that on his watch as Speaker, the bigger chamber had processed 9,600 measures in the first regular session—comprising 8,490 bills; 1,109 resolutions; and one petition—and passed 577 of these measures.

This means that under the Speaker’s leadership, he said, the House had managed to process an average of 30 legislative measures per session day in the first regular session, or a tenth higher than the chamber’s output in the 18th Congress.

Villafuerte said, “The House needs to stay the course on the President’s agenda of high and inclusive growth for the benefit of all our people, as most Filipinos are obviously aware of, and appreciate, the headway made by Mr. Marcos in his BBM campaign pledge in his first year in office, as shown by his excellent satisfaction ratings in tracking polls.

“Only through greater unity under Speaker Martin can we remain true to our commitment to President’s legislative agenda to improve the lives of all Filipinos.”

In the December poll of the prominent Social Weather Stations (SWS), for instance, Villafuerte said the number of Filipinos satisfied with the performance of President Marcos went up to 75% from 71% in the previous quarterly survey.

He said, “A majority of our people recognize and value, too, the support for the President’s agenda by the House under Speaker Martin, and is borne out by the similarly ‘very good’ rating of the bigger chamber at 63% in the same December survey by SWS.”

Villafuerte noted that the House had passed before adjourning sine die last week 33 of the expanded list of 42 priority bills that was drawn up by the President with the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

Villafuerte had co-authored 14 of these priority measures that were either signed into law by the President or awaiting his signature, or passed by the Congress or approved on third and final reading by the House during the first regular session.

Backing his call for unity, Villafuerte said the NUP, which is the biggest power group in the House next to the Romualdez-led Lakas-Christian Muslin Democrats (Lakas-CMD) has upheld its alliance with Lakas-CMD and its support for Romualdez as Speaker.