Speaker welcomes SMART interns ‘into the heart of democracy'

By Zaldy De Layola

August 15, 2023, 6:19 pm

<p>Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez <em>(File photo) </em></p>

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (File photo) 

MANILA – Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday underscored the utmost importance of the Strategic Mentoring and Research Training (SMART) internship program saying it is the Chamber’s way of ensuring that the torch of leadership and service in the House of Representatives “is passed on to capable hands."

The House leader welcomed incoming college interns as part of the program, which he described as “a visionary project that aims to groom the next generation of leaders.”

“Our dear SMART interns, you are not just entering an institution; you're stepping into the heart of our democracy. This is not merely an observational exercise but an avenue to understand the intricate machinery that drives our legislative body,” Romualdez, the leader of the 312-member House of Representatives, told 32 college interns from UP, Lyceum, Trinity and UST.

The launch of the internship program held at the Women Legislators’ Lounge was attended by Romualdez as guest speaker.

Also present were Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Alexander "Sandro" A. Marcos, Tingog Party-list Rep. Jude Acidre, Isabela Rep. Faustino Michael Carlos Dy III, Secretary General Reginald S. Velasco, UP Chancellor Carlo Vistan and deans and officials of partner higher education institutions.

Romualdez said Marcos was a former intern when he was the House Majority Leader during the previous 18th Congress.

Acidre also shared during the event that he started as ordinary congressional staff before being elected congressman this 19th Congress.

“The Secretariat is the backbone of the House of the People. It ensures that the processes of drafting, deliberating, and passing legislation happen seamlessly. The value of the Secretariat in legislation is immense. Their work ensures that the voices of millions are effectively translated into policies and laws,” Romualdez from Tacloban City said.

“To all the interns: you've been chosen because of your potential and the promise you show. Here, you'll be part of a mission, a bigger picture, where we're linking the passion of our youth with the experience and wisdom of the House of the People,” Romuldez said.

Napili kayong lahat hindi lamang dahil magagaling kayo. Napili kayo dahil nakitaan kayo ng potensyal na maging lider ng bansa sa hinaharap. Kung ngayon ay interns kayo, umaasa ako na balang araw ay magiging bahagi rin kayo ng institusyong ito (You are all chosen not only because you are brilliant. You are selected because you have the potential to become national leaders in the future. If at present, you are interns, I’m hoping that someday you’ll also be a part of this institution),” he further expressed.

He explained that interns, who will be assigned to do immersion work within the secretariat of the lower chamber, will be witnessing, firsthand, how the House secretariat works, “not just in legislation but also in nation-building.”

“By ensuring that every piece of legislation is meticulously handled, the Secretariat upholds the principles of our democracy, ensuring that our nation's growth is rooted in the collective will of its people,” Romualdez noted.

Romualdez thanked the partnering universities for trusting the House with the best and the brightest of their students, adding that it is this collaboration that will ensure our nation's policies and decisions continue to resonate with the younger generation.

“Interns, as you embark on this journey, remember: it’s about understanding our nation's heartbeat, getting hands-on experience, and finding avenues where you can contribute and possibly even lead in the future,” he told them. (PNA)