19th Congress: Responding to the challenge of trying times

Published July 26, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The overwhelming mandate that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. garnered in the May 2022 polls has become the impetus for the 19th Congress to embark on a legislative agenda that will address the travails that the Philippines is going through, which include the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic crunch being felt because of recent international conflicts, among others.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez are both coming into office not wanting in legislative experience, having been the Majority Floor Leaders of the Upper and Lower Chambers, respectively, in the previous Congress.

As such, there could be no better leaders in both Houses to banner the legislative agenda of Marcos, which the 19th Congress is expected to also claim as its own.

Zubiri underscored that Marcos’ legislative agenda was “not a presidential wish list he crafted on his own, but a President articulating what the people want.”

Indeed, it could be the people being quoted by Marcos as he enumerated his legislative wish list in Congress during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25.

After all, he received the nod of 58.77 percent of those who cast their vote in the May 9, 2022 elections, which was the first time that a presidential candidate was elected by a majority since the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1986.

Romualdez, a cousin of the President, mirrored that approval in asserting that “every Filipino family must be included in any developmental agenda.”
“No one gets left behind,” he asserted.

And after a tumultuous and divisive May polls, Romualdez vowed that “there will be fair and equitable distribution of resources for development across regions, regardless of political affiliation.”
But Romualdez acknowledged that the tasks ahead would nevertheless be daunting.

“Our synergy is the seed that will nurture us for the next three years,” the Speaker called on the House members.

“We will work hand-in-hand to ensure swift passage of House measures that are needed by the people, and would support development across all sectors of society and different levels of government,” Romualdez added.

Zubiri also assured that, under his leadership, the Senate “will be one to solve problems more than it would find faults.”

“So, let us respond to what the people want, urgently,” Zubiri said.

And in responding to the clamor of the people, the Senate President averred that the Senate will not only be a “multi-tasking Senate, but also a crowdsourcing one.”

“We value your ideas because this Upper Chamber will never be an echo chamber,” he assured the Filipino people.

Zubiri likewise noted that the “war against the pandemic is not yet over, and the battle on many fronts is about to get worse.”

“There is a future to be won. Let us go to our battle stations and fight to uplift our people’s lives, make our nation even greater than before,” the Senate President said.