REAL TALK. Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva (right) stresses a point to his colleagues in this undated photo. He said discussions and debates in the Senate will result in better crafted measures as all options and recommendations are taken into consideration. (Courtesy of Sen. Joel Villanueva’s Facebook page)

MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Monday said debates among his colleagues propel the success of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s reform agenda.

Villanueva said Senate debates resulted in laws that contribute to the executive department’s goals as more ideas, options and policies are formulated.

Deliberations on the 2023 General Appropriations Bill is a showcase of democracy in the Senate, he added.

"Lawmaking is not just about numbers. This is why we encourage discussions and debates because at the end of the day, we all agree to get the best solution to all our woes with one common goal, which is to protect the best interest of our people," he said in a news release on Monday.

Villanueva cited the case of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, who changed his mind regarding the decriminalization of illegal drugs, which is one of his pet bills, after a series of meetings and debates.

"Senator Bato listened to all the arguments regarding his proposed measure decriminalizing illegal drugs. We laud the former PNP (Philippine National Police) chief for his openness to various positions and recommendations," Villanueva said.

The first Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting under the Marcos administration last month likewise involved debates and open discussions critical to the National Employment Recovery Strategy.

“I admire our colleagues for their open-mindedness, especially on issues that have direct daily impact on our people's lives," Villanueva said.

The Senate has finished initial committee hearings on the creation of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Medical Reserve Corps bills and began preliminary discussions on the condonation of unpaid amortizations and interest on loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)