Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (File photo)

MANILA – Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has recognized his colleagues for their hard work and for their loyalty to their job, resulting in the record-breaking accomplishments of the House of Representatives during the first regular session of the 19th Congress.

In his speech before Congress adjourned sine die on Wednesday night, Romualdez said each member of the House truly deserves commendation for a job well done.

“When I assumed the post as your Speaker, I invited each one of you to support and join me in fulfilling the aspirations of the Filipino people. For readily heeding this call, I express my sincerest gratitude to everyone,” he said.

“Sa pagbusisi ninyo sa bawat panukalang batas na ipinapasa natin, nakikita ng lahat na buhay ang demokrasya sa Kongreso (Your thorough scrutiny of every measure that we passed has shown our people that democracy is alive in Congress),” he said.

He said the unity they have shown in the performance of their duty, as well as their relentless action in keeping the legislative mill grinding to full efficiency, are now reaping fruits for the House.

“Public opinion on the performance rating of the House of Representatives is fast reaching an all-time high. Kinikilala ng ating mga kababayan ang pagkakaisa nating ipinapakita. Naniniwala sila na malaking bahagi ito kaya nagagampanan natin ang ating tungkulin (Our countrymen acknowledge the unity that we are showing. They believe that unity is a crucial factor in performing our duties),” Romualdez said.

He noted that with the support of every member, the House has approved on the third and final reading 33 of the 42 priority bills of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

Of these, three have been signed into law -- the Subscriber Identity Module or SIM Registration Act (RA 11934); an Act Postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (RA 11935); and an Act Further Strengthening Professionalism and Promoting the Continuity of Policies and Modernization Initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (RA 11939).

Meanwhile, the House ratified on Wednesday the Bicameral Conference Committee Reports on the Maharlika Investment Fund Bill and the bill creating Department of Health specialty hospitals in provinces.

Meantime, bills approved on the third reading include the Agrarian Reform Debt Condonation Act of 2022 (House Bill 6336); HB 8942, or the Ease of Paying Taxes Act; HB 0304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA): HB 6558 or the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act; and HB 0001 or the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act.

Also passed on final reading were HB 7352, or the Constitutional Convention Act; HB 8078, or the 30-year National Infrastructure Program Act; HB 6527, or the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act; HB 8162, or the National Land Use Act; HB 6772, Amending the Universal Health Care Act; HB 7325, or the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers; HB 6523, or the Revised National Apprenticeship Program Act; and HB 7909, or the Tax Amnesty Act; among others.

A total of 9,600 measures, consisting of 8,490 House bills, 1,109 resolutions and one petition have been filed at the House during the first regular session. A total of 577 of these measures have now been approved by the House.

“On the average, we were able to process 30 legislative measures per session day, 10 percent more than our output in the previous Congress during the same period. Let us continuously improve and optimize the conduct of our work for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.

Aside from doing its legislative duties, Romualdez said the House also performed its oversight function to find solutions to the country’s pressing problems, like the recent unwarranted increase in the price of onions.

He said due to the inquiry and work done by the committee on agriculture, the biggest onion cartel in the country has been dismantled and the price of the commodity has returned to its previous level.

House leaders, along with several House members, have also engaged key congressional leaders of the United States to lay the groundwork for the official visit of Marcos, which had also helped generate billions of dollars in investment pledges that are expected to create thousands of jobs for Filipinos.

“While the conduct of foreign relations is largely the domain of the executive, such engagements deepened the level of appreciation and understanding on issues of mutual concern and thus promote even closer cooperation and partnership between our countries,” Romualdez said.

Lastly, the Speaker thanked the other leaders of the House, including its Senior Deputy Speaker, Deputy Speakers, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, committee chairpersons and vice chairpersons, the secretariat, and all employees for the chamber’s record accomplishments.

“As we close the First Regular Session, I wish that you will remain steadfast in your duty. Let us take this time to reenergize, reflect and reinvigorate our passion for public service,” he said.

“Our nation deserves no less than our synergy and hard work. We have a lot of work ahead of us. By working together, we can help address these challenges and build a better future for our fellow Filipinos,” Romualdez said.

The second regular session of the 19th Congress would start on July 24, before the second State of the Nation Address of President Marcos. (PNA)