SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Members of the House of Representatives pledged their support for President Rodrigo Duterte and his legislative agenda which was spelled out in the chief executive's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
Newly-elected Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez assured that the 18th Congress will support the legislative agenda of the President "with vitality, energy, and enthusiasm to continue the progress of the administration."
“We will throw ourselves headlong in pursuing [President Duterte’s priority legislative agenda], hand in hand with both houses of Congress, the Office of the President, and all the agencies. We are confident that we will achieve the same,” Romualdez said.
Among the priorities that Romualdez shall pursue in the year ahead are the 2020 budget; tax reform packages; Department of Disaster Resilience; and Department of Water.
Rep. Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano (1st District, Ilocos Sur) is confident that the House of the 18th Congress will be productive, especially now that all House Members, including previous contenders for the Speakership, are determined to strive together in fulfilling the initiatives of the President.
Savellano also echoed President Duterte's continued thrust to purge the government of corruption.
"'Yung delivery of services sa mga tao, 'yung sinasabi niyang medyo may corruption, iyon ang tugunan natin," he said.
Rep. Dennis Laogan (Party-list, Ang Kabuhayan) welcomed the President's emphasis on boosting the business environment for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and leveraging MSMEs to address poverty in the country.
"I'm very happy sa push ni Presidente for the MSMEs as he mentioned. And he mentioned that MSMEs will really help in uplifting 'yung poverty situation natin. Kami we fully agree with that, as you can see…Helping these MSMEs through 'yung pagbibigay ng access to credit will really benefit the whole economy," Laogan sain.
Laogan added that Kabuhayan Party-list fully supports the President in this regard because the party-list's advocacies in the 18th Congress will revolve around the same issues.
"Because yung party-list namin, Ang Kabuhayan Party-list, iyon 'yung focus natin, yung MSMEs. So doon tayo iikot. Di ba sabi ni Presidente na nanghihingi siya ng tulong. Sana sa atin naman, we plan to help the President in whatever small way we can by pushing for MSMEs na rin," he said.
President Duterte's pitch to create a Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission was received warmly as well. Reelected Deputy Speaker Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. shared his proposal to establish a similar agency to address the deepening water crisis in the country.
"I wanted to divide the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources because it's conflicting. So I wanted to create a Department of Water and Natural Resources and a Department of Enviroment, so it's logical," Pichay said.
Rep. Jose Atienza Jr. (Part-list, BUHAY) has an alternative option to the President's renewed proposal to reimpose the death penalty.
“The solution to criminality is of course effective law enforcement...A culture of life is the opposite of a culture of death. I want him to promote a culture of life. Good government will provide us a better life,” he said.
Atienza proposed that instead of death penalty, there should be programs that shall boost the economy of the Philippines, particularly on livelihood, agriculture and tourism. He hoped that President Duterte would continue to reinforce the same.
Rep. Sarah Jane Elago (Party-list, KABATAAN) hoped for increased focus on improving the delivery of education services and fixing budget reforms that steer government funds away from public services.
Rep. France Castro (Party-list, ACT Teachers) welcomed the SONA portion about raising the wages of teachers and nurses. She hopes the amount of increase will be set. "Positive sa akin yung pag mention niya ng salary increase for teachers and nurses. Medyo nakukulangan lang ako ng kung magkano. Sa pulis at sundalo kasi nabanggit na doble ang increase nila,"said Castro.
Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said the Salary Standardization Law is overly delayed and benefits more the government officials rather than employees receiving low salaries.
"That’s why we in Bayan Muna filed a proposal to make the national minimum salary of workers at P16,000 which hopefully will address that," said Gaite. / Rowena B. Bundang, Czarina Engracia, and Molie Gonzales / News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau / House of Representatives of the Philippines