The second of three regular sessions of the House of Representatives started Monday morning with the House leadership vowing to push for legislative measures that would “keep Filipinos safe and healthy” while pursuing efforts to resuscitate the economy.
A total 301 congressmen responded to the roll call though only 21 were physically present at the Batasan Pambansa Complex plenary hall in Quezon City, with the rest attending thru zoom meeting system.
Deputy Speaker and Surigal del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel did not show up at the plenary hall after being informed by House health officers that he tested positive for COVID-19.
All House officials and personnel, including guests, were subjected to swab tests on Friday and Saturday as requirement to entry to the Lower House for the 5th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Immediately after resuming session, the chamber adopted several resolutions in preparation for the holding of a joint session with the Senate and the SONA.
Cayetano noted that the Lower House scored well in accomplishing its legislative tasks, pointing out that congressmen were able to pass the 2020 General Appropriations Act in record time.
But unlike during first three quarters that followed Duterte 2010 SONA, Congress is confronted with the difficult task of pursuing vital priority measures while being confronted by the dangers and pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes, there is a long, hard road ahead of us, but there is nothing in the Filipino’s character which tells me that we will be unequal to the task,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano also proposed several more measures that is expected to reenergize the weakening economy.
“And in this endeavor, the government will be playing a significant role. I propose that we strengthen the Agriculture, Tourism, and Manufacturing sectors, augmented by robust investments in infrastructure, to be the primary source of employment and growth,” Cayetano stated.
The House official also underscored the need to revitalize the Philipines’ creative industry” that used to be the best in Asia.
“This week the house leadership is filing a bill that will establish the Department of Arts and Culture so that instead of being a casualty of COVID-19, Filipino creativity and artistry will be an integral part of our arsenal for recovery,” vowed Cayetano.