As the Senate formally opened this morning the second regular session of the 18th Congress, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said he is willing to lead his colleagues in the 24-member Senate to craft a holistic agenda in building a new world as global leaders grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
‘’We will continue where we left off in the shaping of adequate legislative response to this major challenge in our lives. There is no question that the COVID pandemic will leave all of us changed. In this cusp of transformation, we are all challenged to take part in building a new world,’’ he said.
Without pre-empting his Senate colleagues who chair various committees that have jurisdictions over specific matters, Sotto said is willing to lead them in various legislative concerns such as:
1. Digital landscape – For as long as the pandemic remains uncontrolled, there will be a need to upgrade and improve the digital highway in support of various communication and online transactional needs.
2. Distance learning – As we stay isolated, we must not neglect a generation of young people who would otherwise be deprived of advancing in their studies. We must support programs that will help the education sector migrate to more plausible learning platforms.
3. Public transport system – In order to help revive our economy, it is imperative to have a safe, efficient, and dependable public transport system that will ferry workers so that industries may again produce goods and services; and people can resume earning incomes to spend.
4. Encouraging New Business– Experts say that this pandemic has fundamentally changed the market economy. Government can help entrepreneurs find their place in the emerging business landscape by reassessing tariffs so as to ease business burdens where appropriate, as well as providing the means for new ventures to flourish.
5. Support for the Arts – Priority should also be given in support of the arts. We must rebuild our nation in both body and soul. Great civilizations before us endured not only because they had material wealth, but because they lived a life nurtured by writers and artists.
‘’For what good will we be if we survive all this, but lose our soul? It is my hope that the Senate help this nation emerge from the chaos of the pandemic with its mind and heart intact,’’ he stressed.
Sotto emphasized that the Senate stands firm.
‘’Together with the Filipino people, we are committed to saving lives, to reviving our economy, and to the creation of a shared future based on truth, respect, freedom, and love of nation. We know that our work is not easy. That is why I invite everyone to work in every possible way with your government, in the same way that your government promises to work with you,’’ he pointed out.
‘’As always, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate. I thank my fellow Senators for their trust and support, as well as their patience in the challenging work of legislation,’’ he added.
‘’With God’s grace, we will complete the work in the second regular session with laws for the betterment of all. Ibayong pag-iingat para sa ating lahat. Marami pong salamat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!,’’ he sid.
In closing his 13-minute speech, reiterated the Senate’s ‘’appreciation to our medical and other allied frontliners who have from the beginning and up to now, held the line.’’