Anna Mae Lamentillo
In his 20 years of serving the public as a legislator, Senator Juan Miguel ‘Migz’ Zubiri has registered perfect attendance in Congress. As majority leader of the Senate, he is the first to arrive and the last to leave for every session.
But his hard work is proven not only by his unblemished attendance. During the 14th Congress when he was first elected as Senate majority leader — the youngest to hold such position — he shepherded the passage of 650 national and local bills. He displayed the same zeal and work ethic when he held the same position in the 17th and 18th Congresses.
Senator Migz is a hardworking public servant, such that “Trabahador ng Senado” is truly a befitting moniker.
SENATOR JUAN MIGUEL ‘MIGZ’ ZUBIRI
Sen. Migz champions inclusive growth and sustainable development. These are manifested in the laws he principally authored and sponsored both as senator and congressman.
He is considered the father of the new Cooperative Code, being the principal sponsor and author of Republic Act (RA) 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008. In the present Congress, he also authored and sponsored the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Charter of 2019 in supplement to the 2008 law.
Zubiri greets and offers relief goods to a child in an evacuation camp, in the wake of Typhoon Odette.
Sen. Migz explained that the CDA aims to address the issues and challenges that stunt the development and progress of cooperativism in the country, adding that the agency can provide technical support and market linkages especially to start-up cooperatives.
“This will respond to the clamor of the cooperative sector to make the Cooperative Development Authority more responsive to the needs of the sector and further promote cooperativism as an effective tool in achieving inclusive growth,” he said.
He also earned the title “Mr. Clean Energy” for fervently advocating legislative measures on environmental conservation, particularly on promoting clean and renewable energy.
During his last term as Representative of the 3rd District of Bukidnon, he worked for the passage of the Biofuels Act of 2006 (RA 9367); then as a neophyte senator, he co-authored the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (RA 9153).
In a historic moment, Zubiri joins MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim onstage at the 26th anniversary celebration of the OPAPP. After years of opposition between the MNLF and the MILF, Misuari and Ibrahim’s exchange of greetings and handshakes signified the promise of peace and reconciliation.
As a Mindanaoan, Senator Migz’s most notable contribution to promote peace and development in Mindanao is the Bangsamoro Organic Law (RA 11054), which he co-authored. Prior to that, he authored the Mindanao Development Authority Act of 2010 (RA 9996).
He also authored the proposed Marawi Siege Compensation Act, which is only awaiting the President’s signature. This will hasten the recovery of the people of Marawi City.
Among the other laws he sponsored, principally authored, or co-authored are the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act (RA 10121), the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (RA 9165), the Armed Forces of the Philippines Rate Pay Base Increase Act (RA 9166), the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act (RA 11525), and the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act (RA 11032).
Despite the taxing duties of a legislator, especially that of the Majority Leader, Senator Migz still finds time for socio-civic work.
He is involved in a variety of environmental programs — founder of the Philippine Deer Foundation, a deer conservation project; and vice president of the Palawan-based Katala Foundation, which protects endangered wildlife species and their habitats.
Senator Migz is also a trained first aider and certified rescue diver. He is the vice chairman of the Philippine Red Cross and an active member of the Red Cross Youth Committee and the Concerned Divers of the Philippines.
He is also a key figure in the rebirth of arnis as a national sport. He authored RA 9850, Declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport, and is the chairman and president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF).
AS HEAD of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, Zubiri supported the Philippine National Arnis Team throughout their journey to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where they emerged as the winningest team with their 14 gold haul.
In fact, Senator Migz himself is not just an arnisador, but also a champion of the sport. He won gold at the 1989 World Arnis Championships.
In helping revive the sport, Senator Migz explained, “Basically, this martial art helped liberate us during the Philippine-Spanish war, and again in the Philippine-American war. It has so much historical significance for the Filipino people, that’s why we’re trying to put that in the consciousness and awareness of every Filipino, that Arnis is not just a sport, but it’s practically in our history. It’s in our blood.”
Senator Migz hopes to receive once again the mandate of the people. With a fresh senate term, he vows to continue his work in uplifting the people from the pandemic.
Joined by his wife Audrey and their three children, Zubiri is sworn in as Majority Leader by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Among his priorities will be the passage of the third Covid-19 financial aid or Bayanihan 3, which will focus on workers hit by the pandemic including farmers, those in the tourism industry, and MSMEs.
He also plans to make the specialty hospitals — the Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), Lung Center, and the Cancer Center — all regional to be able to benefit more Filipino patients all over the country.
With a proven track record and no issue of corruption, the hardworking Senator Migz is certain to accomplish these measures, and many more.