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PRESS RELEASES

SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau


Speaker Romualdez cites record accomplishment of House in first five months of session
16 December 2022 01:00:54 PM


SPEAKER Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday cited the record
accomplishment of the House of Representatives in the first five
months of session of the 19th Congress, including the approval of the
Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) to boost economic development and the
passage of 19 priority bills of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos
Jr. aimed at providing better public services for Filipino people.

In his remarks before the legislature started its Christmas recess,
the Speaker Romualdez said President Marcos, in his first State of the
Nation Address (SONA) in July, identified 19 priority measures for the
19th Congress to consider and approve.

“In just about five months, we have approved on third and final
reading 10 of these measures. In addition, 37 other national bills
and 128 local bills were likewise approved on third and final
reading,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“This Maharlika bill is our response to the need for a more efficient,
steady and reliable growth of the nation’s coffers, using well-thought
of investment gains that will ultimately redound to the benefit of the
Filipino people,” Speaker Romualdez said, stressing lawmakers
exhaustively deliberated on the bill seeking the creation of the MIF
“in a bid to resuscitate our pandemic-battered economy.”

Speaker Romualdez noted that public consultations and extensive
deliberations with agencies and stakeholders were conducted by House
Committees on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Ways and Means, and
Appropriations, while in plenary, several interpellators and numerous
hours of session were devoted “for informative debates and
manifestations discussing lengthily the nature, scope and benefits of
the proposed measure.”

The House leader said the MIF bill is authored by 282 members of the
chamber as of press time Thursday.

He said the creation and use of a sovereign wealth fund “has been
tried and tested in both first world and developing economies.”

The Speaker cited Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte, which he said has
been the city-state’s biggest contributor to its national budget since
2018, while Indonesia has likewise been a model of a successful
sovereign wealth fund that was used to fund major infrastructure
programs, despite the limited financial sources brought about by the
COVID-19 pandemic.

“We view the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund Act as an effective
vehicle to execute and sustain high-impact infrastructure projects,
urban and rural development, agricultural support, and other programs
that would generate more income and economic activity in the country,”
the Speaker said.

“By gaining financial independence from global economic factors such
as inflation and economic regression, we will build a business climate
that will attract more companies to invest in the country, generate
jobs, support agricultural modernization, sustain social welfare
programs, and achieve economic transformation,” he said.


Speaker Romualdez added that the House looks forward to the enactment
of several other priority bills it has passed on third and final
reading that were part of the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) of the
Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

These include the National Disease Prevention Management Authority or
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Medical Reserve Corps
(HEART), Agrarian Reform Debts Condonation, Philippine Passport Act,
Internet Transaction Act / E-Commerce Law, Waste-to-Energy Bill, Free
Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers, Apprenticeship Act,
Public–Private Partnership (PPP) Act, Magna Carta of Barangay Health
Workers, Valuation Reform Bill (Package 3), Eastern Visayas
Development Authority (EVDA), and the Leyte Ecological Industrial
Zone.
Last week, the House approved two other measures included in the CLA,
namely the Virology Institute of the Philippines, and the Passive
Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA), which is the
fourth package under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).
On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved on third and final
reading the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to
Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill and National
Citizens Service Training Program (NCSTP), both measures under the
CLA.

The House of Representatives also approved on third and final reading HB 6517 is titled, “An Act further strengthening professionalism and promoting the continuity of policies and
modernization initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines", which seeks changes on fixed tour of duty of key AFP officers.

The two that have been signed into law by the President are the mobile
phone Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Registration Act and the
bill resetting the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections,
original scheduled for this month, to October 2023.

Romualdez said the House passed the proposed P5.268-trillion Agenda
for Property 2023 national budget last September.

During its first meeting last October 10, Speaker Romualdez said the
LEDAC added 12 more to the 19 SONA measures, for a total of 31
priority pieces of legislation.

Of the 31, two have been enacted into law, 17 have been approved on
third and final reading, and the rest are in their advance stages of
deliberation in various committee, Speaker Romualdez added.

The Speaker said the SIM card registration law “is envisioned as an
effective tool to protect the people from spurious, untraceable text
messages, spam messages, fraudulent messages and breach of data
privacy.”

“Just about three months since we assumed office, with everyone’s
help, we were able to pass such important piece of legislation - a
step closer toward addressing digital threats caused by unregulated
use of SIM cards,” he said.

He said the numerous priority bills passed into law and approved on
third and final reading “speak volumes about the outstanding dynamics
of this Congress which we have all worked hard for.”

“These measures are calculated to alleviate poverty, trigger economic
progress, and harness competencies in government for the delivery of
no less than the highest degree of service to the Filipino people,”
Romualdez stressed.

Romualdez recalled that the House, at the beginning of the first
regular session of Congress last July 25, set its legislative program.

He said such program aimed to address the “most pressing concern
facing our nation today: the full revitalization of the
pandemic-ravaged economy, and ensuring that whatever economic growth
we achieve will truly benefit every Filipino by instituting inclusive
public policies that would create jobs, provide equal economic
opportunities for all, and put food on the table of every Filipino
family.”

“We have aligned our legislative goals with those of the Executive
Department, to make sure that we are all rowing in the same direction,
with only the genuine interests of our people in mind,” he said.

The Speaker thanked members and other leaders of the House for their
“cooperation and support” in the accomplishment of the chamber’s
legislative goals.

He gave “much recognition and thanks” to Senior Deputy Speaker and
former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Deputy Speakers Isidro
Ungab, Roberto Puno, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Camille Villar,
Democrito Mendoza, Ralph Recto, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., and Vicente
Franco Frasco, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, and Senior Deputy
Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander Marcos.

He also expressed his gratitude to Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan,
Appropriations Committee chairman Elizaldy Co of Ako Bicol, his senior
vice chairperson Stella Luz Quimbo of Marikina, Ways and Means
Committee chairman Joey Salceda of Albay, and Accounts committee
chairperson Yedda Marie Romualdez of Tingog Party-list.

“With your help, we are able to swiftly but thoroughly pass a
substantial number of the President’s legislative agenda, including
the priority measures that we in the House leadership have identified
at the beginning of our term. Thank you for sharing the vision of a
much better nation and for working extra hard in seeing this
aspiration through,” he said.

The House leader likewise thanked all committee chairmen and the
chamber’s secretariat.

He reminded his colleagues that “we are part of the privileged few who
enjoy the trust and confidence of the Filipino people whose interests
and sovereign will we are constitutionally-bound to represent in every
piece of legislation we propose, and pass.”

“Let us continue to think of the children, men and women from all
walks of life, the elderly, the farmers and fisherfolk, and other
marginalized sectors, the businesses – whether big or small, the
professionals, the working class, our overseas Filipino workers, all
the faceless Filipinos that we are bound to serve and protect,” he
said.

“As we conclude the first year of the 19th Congress, may we all
embrace the spirit of service, love, and compassion in everything we
do as representatives of the Filipino people. Let us continue to
pursue our sense of solidarity and collective wisdom to bring about
inclusive growth and sustainable economic progress,” Speaker Romualdez said.(END)