Martin SPEAKER ROMUALDEZ THANKS HOUSE MEMBERS — Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez thanks House Members for showing their undiminishing passion for excellence to their vision for a united and inclusive House of Representatives minutes before the adjourment of session for Holy Week recess Wednesday night. Photo by VER NOVENO


March 23, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 736 views

In House of Representatives

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday assured the nation that the House of Representatives, under his stewardship, will not tolerate misconduct and wrongdoing among its members.

He made the assurance in remarks shortly before Congress went on its Lenten break.

In his speech, the Speaker also took pride in the unprecedented accomplishments of his chamber in the nine months of the 19th Congress.

He said the call for disciplinary action against Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr., who was implicated in the recent killing of Gov. Roel Degamo and several others, was a “pressing matter that warranted the chamber’s urgent and sound response.”

He said the committee on ethics and privileges, “observing due process and fully cognizant of Rep. Teves’ rights,” conducted an investigation and has submitted its report for plenary action.

“Under my leadership, the House of Representatives will never ever countenance any conduct unbecoming of a House member,” he stressed.

The House of Representatives imposed a 60-day suspension from service against Teves for disorderly behavior.

The House leader said part of the achievements of the chamber was the “careful attention (given) to the public outcry against the exorbitant prices of onion.”

“The series of hearings has produced immediate positive results, with the price of onion returning to previous level and personalities involved in the hoarding and price manipulation being slowly unmasked,” he said.

“We looked further and moved toward protecting our countrymen from the untimely increase of the premium rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation with the approval of House Bill (HB) No. 6772, which grants the President the power to suspend the increase of premium,” he said.

Philhealth was due to adjust rates by a half percentage point, from four percent in 2022 to 4.5 percent this year, or from a minimum of P400 to P450 a month.

“The welfare of women was also at the forefront of our agenda as we provide them the right to retain their maiden surnames through HB No. 4605,” Speaker Romualdez said.

He added that the House likewise approved measures promoting entrepreneurship and enterprise-based education, addressing unemployment, and ensuring continued economic growth, like the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund and Ease of Paying Taxes Act.

However, he said the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, which calls for a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution, and its implementing measure, HB No. 7352, were the proposed pieces of legislation that “definitely ignited our democratic energies and signaled moral consent for beneficial change.”

“These twin measures were voted overwhelmingly by the members with the firm belief that their passage would lead to genuine constitutional reforms,” he added.

“For the longest time, these reforms have taken a backseat due to misconceptions and perceived controversies. This time around, we will ensure a transparent and trustworthy process where the sovereign mandate of the people is kept safe,” he emphasized.

The Speaker commended and thanked House officers and members “for the commitment and untiring efforts that led to an impressive performance.”

“We did not shirk from our responsibilities and we rose to the challenges that we, as lawmakers, must address. Our body of accomplishments during the past months proves that our ambitions and aspirations for a better nation are attainable,” he said.

“While legislation alone is rarely sufficient to ensure fast and equitable changes, our work initiated opportunities that were once unthinkable, and hopefully would inspire the passing of future legislative measures that may be perceived as radical by some but are actually beneficial to many,” he said.

He also thanked the minority “for their conscientious participation during deliberations.”

“Despite our differences in opinion, together we resolved all sorts of contentious issues and agreed to achieve productive ends for our country as a whole,” he said.

“Let us continue to work hard, make ourselves better as lawmakers and strive further to sustain the gains and realize our aspirations,” he told his colleagues.