UNITY. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (3rd from right) raises the hand of Vice President Sara Z. Duterte during his inauguration as the country's 17th Chief Executive at the National Museum of the Philippines in the City of Manila on Thursday (June 30, 2022). Both Marcos and Duterte won via a huge lead in the May 9 polls, each of them garnering more than 30 million votes. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Friday called on Filipinos to rally behind the new leaders, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, in their call for unity and help them fully deliver their mandate.

"I humbly appeal to all my kababayans to support our new leaders, including Vice President Inday Sara Duterte, and help them fulfill their mandate to the Filipino people. Now more than ever, the call for unity is more urgent, more important if we want to improve the plight of every ordinary citizen," Velasco said.

He said Marcos' overwhelming victory in the May election was "historical", as he was chosen by more than 31 million voters to "take the top job and navigate the country" amid the ongoing pandemic and Ukraine-Russia conflict.

"With the problems confronting the nation, the gargantuan task of putting back the economy on track and returning to the new normal will require the cooperation of all," Velasco said.

He said he is ready to help the new administration realize its road map to generate more jobs, create more business opportunities, improve food sufficiency, ensure a steady supply of energy, and support millions of Filipino migrant workers, among others.

Velasco said it is also time to set aside differences so that "we can move forward and effect the change that is expected from us as public servants."

"Let us hope and trust that this government will do the job right. Lahat tayo – lingkod-bayan man o ordinaryong mamamayan – ay pareho at iisa lang ang pangarap: ang maunlad na pamumuhay at maunlad na Pilipinas (All of us – whether public servants or ordinary citizens – have a common dream: better living and a better Philippines)," he said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte appealed to the 19th Congress to give its full backing to the President’s call for unity and building back better by working on new legislation in support of Marcos’ priority concerns, such as economic transformation, sustained infrastructure development, tourism development, agricultural modernization, and food sufficiency.

Villafuerte said he is particularly supporting the plan of Marcos and incoming Speaker Martin Romualdez to push Congress to craft a new economic stimulus package dubbed Bayan Bangon Muli (BBM).

“Supporting this call for unity and collective action against the backdrop of domestic and global challenges is the least we can do for our country and President BBM, who, by the way, has won the biggest electoral mandate ever in our country’s history with over 31.1 million votes,” he said.

Villafuerte also noted that Marcos' plan to sustain the accelerated infrastructure development initiated by former president Rodrigo Duterte will provide a big boost to his proposed "comprehensive, all-inclusive” economic transformation, given that infrastructure investments create a lot of jobs and have the highest multiplier effect on the economy.

Meanwhile, Bagong Henerasyon Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera said she agrees with the new president on energy sufficiency, adding that Congress could provide specific actions in terms of annual appropriations and bills encouraging investments and accountability in the energy, water, and telecommunications sectors.

“I have long been for renewable energy, solar power, wind power, mini-grids and microgrids, and mini-hydro facilities because these are the energy technologies suited to our archipelagic needs,” Herrera said.

1-PACMAN Party-List Rep. Mikee Romero said the agriculture sector needs more resources.

Romero said crucial to the food self-sufficiency objectives of the new administration, an efficient commodities market and trading system must be established, including its component storage depots, accountability, and transparency mechanisms, and the commodities exchange.

She said it is also time “to put in place the building blocks of the country’s strategic fuel reserve… so when fuel prices subside and stabilize, that would be the time to inject the fuel reserves into the facilities and system built for the purpose.” (PNA)