House ‘fiercely united’ to fulfill mandate amid threats, intimidation

The House of Representatives remains committed to setting aside differences among its members and becoming "fiercely united" to fulfill its mandate of serving the people in the face of threats and intimidation from any source, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said on Monday. In his remarks during the resumption of the session, Romualdez stressed that the politics of division has no place in the 300-plus strong chamber despite efforts of "certain sectors or individuals with misplaced priorities" to malign and tarnish the "positive image" of the institution. "Nagkakaiba man tayo ng pananaw at paniniwala, nagkakaisa tayong tumitindig kung inaatake ang ating institusyon. Hindi rin natin papayagan ang sinuman na pigilan tayo sa paggampan ng ating mandato sa ating mga kababayan (Despite our different beliefs and perspectives, we stand united against attacks on our institution. We will also not let anyone prevent us from fulfilling our mandate to the people)," he said. Romualdez said he is prepared to "stand before anyone and vehemently defend our actions and decisions" even in the face of issues that threaten the chamber's integrity. He particularly defended the decision of the House to exercise its power of the purse by approving certain realignments in the proposed 2024 national budget. 'The House was never lenient, nor did it favor anyone. The entire process was dedicated to uplifting the lives of our fellow citizens and staying true to the fundamental principles of the system of checks and balances in the government,' he said. 'Wala pong personalan dito. Trabaho lang (There's nothing personal here. We are just doing our jobs).' He pointed out that the House has consistently upheld the principles associated with democracy, representation, fairness, pluralism, and even dissent. He also emphasized that the House is on the right track in addressing the country's pressing issues, as indicated by the high ratings he and his chamber posted in recent surveys. Romualdez particularly cited the Octa Research 3rd quarter 2023 survey, showing that his trust rating jumped significantly by 22 points, from 38 percent to 60 percent, between 2022 and 2023. From July to October this year, his trust level rose by six points, from 54 percent to 60 percent. In the same poll, his performance satisfaction mark climbed by 17 points between 2020-2022 and 2023, from 44 percent to 61 percent. From July to October 2023, his performance rating increased by six points, from 55 percent to 61 percent. 'Kung hindi dahil sa sipag at suporta ninyong lahat, hindi natin maibabalik ang tiwala ng mamamayan sa Kongreso. Ang mataas na pagkilala ng publiko sa inyong Speaker at sa ating Kapulungan ay bunga ng ating pagkakaisa at sama-samang pagkilos (If not for your diligence and support, we would not be able to restore the public's trust in Congress. The high public approval ratings of your Speaker and our chamber are results of our unity and cooperation)' he told House members. 'Ito rin ay pagkilala na tama ang ating ginagawa sa institusyong into. Mahirap mang gawin ang ilang desisyon na ating hinarap, napatunayan natin na nasa tamang panig tayo ng kasaysayan (This is also a recognition that what our institution is doing is right. Even though some of the decisions we made were tough, we have proven that we are on the right side of history),' he said. Romualdez said the House's answer to its critics is its numerous accomplishments since the 19th Congress convened in July last year. He said these achievements include the approval of all the 20 Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) priority measures three months ahead of schedule, the passage on third and final reading of the 2024 general appropriations bill in a timely and transparent manner, and the approval of 10 out of 17 measures identified by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in his State of the Nation Address in July. 'Let our outputs speak for our loyalty to our country, the Constitution, and the entire Filipino people. Our defense against those who endanger the integrity of the House of Representatives is to fulfill our utmost priority, which is to bring forth the most significant and responsive pieces of legislation,' he said. Romualdez added that by complementing the legislative agenda of President Marcos, 'we stay true to our sworn duty despite pressure from all fronts.' 'Our most important clients, the constituents we are all duty-bound to serve, expect nothing less than results founded on honesty, trustworthiness, and moral uprightness - non-negotiable demands we must safeguard and deliver,' he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency