Prior to his entry into public service as Representative of the First District of Leyte, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez spent a greater part of his professional life in the private sector. He held several executive positions and directorships for big companies, among them Equitable PCI Bank, PCI
Leasing Corporation, and Philippine Commercial International Bank.
But public service is a fate he could not defy. It runs in the blood. His father, the late Benjamin Romualdez, was former ambassador and governor of Leyte.
In fact, Speaker Romualdez’ first foray in public service was when he became a Kabataang Barangay (KB) member. And though he did not immediately continue to politics after that, his educational background hinted that it was a consideration in the future.
He finished his undergraduate studies with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University in New York in 1985. He earned a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University in 1988. Then in 1992, he earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines.
Speaker Romualdez is a senior legislator having served for 12 years in Congress — from 2007 until 2016, and from 2019 up to the present.
He is also the president of the Lakas–Christian Muslims Democrats (CMD) party, one of the oldest political parties in the country.
During the 18th Congress, within which period the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he was majority leader of the House. His role was crucial in ensuring the speedy passage of two critical Bayanihan laws — the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Bayanihan 1, and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2; as well as the approval of the Covid-19 Vaccination Act of 2021 and the Malasakit Centers Act.
He also pushed for the passage of the Alternative Learning System Act, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE Law, and Republic Act (RA) No. 11517, which authorizes the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications in times of national emergency, among many others.
As representative of the First District of Leyte, Speaker Romualdez also diligently worked on measures that would benefit his constituents, including RA 11567, which increased the bed capacity of Eastern Visayas Medical Center from 500 to 1,500; RA 11566, which converted the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital in Palo, Leyte into a general hospital and expanded its bed capacity from 25 to 100; RA 10290, which established a national high school in Tacloban City; and RA 10244, which created two additional Regional Trial Court branches in Leyte.
Under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, the House of Representatives will prioritize the passage of laws that will help the country recover quickly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and will support the administration’s legislative agenda.
Early this month, the House had adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 2 supporting President Bongbong Marcos’ 2022-2028 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, which aims to attain short-term macro-fiscal stability while remaining supportive of the economic recovery promoting medium-term fiscal sustainability.
Speaker Romualdez said that it’s full speed ahead for the House of Representatives as they aim to pass the 2023 national budget on time, as well as other measures that will help in economic recovery, and jobs and livelihood creation.
The speaker also wants to prevent even a single presidential veto of bills through closer coordination with Malacañang and the Senate, stressing that it is important to ensure not only effective legislation but also cost-effective legislation. A zero veto of bills ensures that government resources are spent wisely and prudently.
As the fourth highest official in the Philippine government, Speaker Romualdez has his plate full. And while his passion for public service has been evident from the start, his greatest source of inspiration remains his family, especially his wife Tingog Partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, and their four children.