SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives heralded the new year with a renewed commitment to serving the public as its Secretariat held on Monday its first flagraising ceremony for 2020.
Rep. Lorenz Defensor (3rd District, Iloilo), the guest of honor, emphasized that the responsibility of Representatives is to work towards the benefit of their constituents. "We are called Congressmen not because we have been elected, but because of everyone—kada babae, lalaki, bata man o matanda, mayaman o mahirap—utang na loob namin sa inyo ang aming puwesto sa gobyerno. At dapat ang aming trabaho ay hindi lamang para sa aming sarili kung hindi para sa mga pamilya ninyo," he said.
In effect, the role of the Secretariat is not to "serve" the Representatives but to help them fulfill their mandate as elected officials, Defensor said. "I am humbled that we have been elected as Congressmen. But I would like to remind the Secretariat today na wala po kami sa pwesto para paglingkuran ninyo. Nandito kami sa Kongreso para tulungan ninyo lang na gawin namin nang mabuti ang aming trabaho para sa ating bayan," Defensor said.
A neophyte lawmaker who is serving his first term in the House, Defensor shared that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father Arthur Defensor Sr., a former Member of the House.
"Ayaw kong maging popular na congressman ng 18th Congress. But I would rather be called a statesman by the keepers of the institution," he said.
Defensor also noted that he counts on the House Secretariat to guide his and his fellow Representatives' growth into full fledged statesmen.
"Now more than ever, the 18th Congress has a chance to produce among its ranks the new statesmen of the country and I look up to the Secretariat to be the guiding force in turning congressmen into statesmen… As keepers of the institution, I hope the Secretariat of the House of Representatives will maintain and protect the traditions of this institution because you are the institution of Congress," he added.