On the Senate comeback trail, Legarda lays out accomplishments and plans

House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda's bid for a Senate comeback has officially begun following the launch of her campaign in her home province of Antique on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Loren Legarda (Photo from Loren Legarda's Facebook page)

The former three-term senator has vowed to launch a campaign focused on employment generation and green pandemic recovery for every Filipino family.

“The crisis of unemployment is one of the major problems that needs to be addressed urgently. My goal is to strengthen government interventions to give our people hope, especially the poorest of our poor, belonging to the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors of our country, an assurance that they are given priority and adequate assistance as we tread on the path towards sustainable and green pandemic recovery,” Legarda said.

In her three-year term as the pepresentative of the lone district of Antique, Legarda has brought the province into its golden age, bringing more programs and projects closer to Antiqueños. This, as elected senator, is what she hopes to do also for other provinces.

During the pandemic, Antiqueños were able to benefit from national government projects such as the Department of Labor and Employment-Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced workers (DOLE-TUPAD), GIP and Pangkabuhayan, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Shared Service Facilities (SSF), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

Residents of the province also received Department of Health (DOH) Medical Assistance to Indigent Program (MAIP), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Community Empowerment through Science & Technology (CEST), and DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) through Legarda’s efforts.

Meanwhile, farmers and fisherfolk also benefitted from various programs and assistance in coordination with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Dairy Authority (NDA), Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), and mechanization programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA)

Legarda also ensured adequate support was allocated for the upgrading of health facilities in Antique. The projects include the DOH's Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) for the construction and expansion of various hospitals, rural health units (RHUs), and barangay health stations (BHS); upgrade in hospital equipment; and provision of responders and sea ambulances.

With her commitment to further bring down the number of out-of-school youth as well as to improve the quality of education in the province, Legarda continued to provide Antique with programs such as Tulong Dunong in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and construction of additional classrooms in public schools. She also allocated funds under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in 2018 to install Wi-Fi in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) in order to aid students with their school research and requirements.

“After my two decades of Senate work, I decided to be with my kasimanwa, make Antique, my beloved home province, a role model for inclusive and sustainable development for the rest of the country. Never has Antique had so much hope and improvement in the province,” Legarda said.

The House leader said that the success of improving Antique is what encouraged her to run again for the Senate and to bring the government programs closer to the people.

“After more than two years, we’ve seen the improvement in Antique...Ang Antique ang magiging modelo ng pag-ahon at pagbangon mula sa pandemyang ito (Antique will serve as the model in the effort to rise anew from this pandemic),” Legarda said.

Among her priority legislation are the amendments to the Public Employment Service Office law that she also co-authored and passed in her first term as Senator, to include entrepreneurship and to strengthen local government units (LGUs) by establishing Barangay Employment and Entrepreneurship Service Office (BEESO), and to facilitate employment matching at the barangay level.

Legarda is also pushing for the One Tablet, One Student Act that would provide each student resources to cope with the blended learning system; the upgrading of salary of public school teachers from entry level Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15; and to institutionalize livelihood programs under the Pangkabuhayan bill to ensure that more Filipinos are given the opportunity to start their own livelihood and be financially independent.