"These honorable men and women stood with me amid all issues that surrounded the legitimacy of the House Minority bloc."
The 17th Congress was a fruitful and eventful term. We unveiled and probed issues, both chronic and short-term. The courageous pursuits for truth, transparency, and accountability led to many significant reforms in the government, not just in policy-making but also in program implementation. The collective action of the legislative has contributed to the growth we are experiencing today. Of the 28 common legislative agenda approved at the start of the 17th Congress, 22 of them were accomplished by the House of Representatives while the remaining 6 are pending in the respective Committees.
As this Congress comes to an end, I would like to acknowledge the indispensable contributions of my senior deputy, other deputy members and the rest of the Minority family in our legislative feats for the past three years.
The Minority was instrumental in the investigation and resolution of issues and controversies that beset the government and the country. Early on, we were active in investigating the proliferation of illegal drugs and drug syndicates in the Bilibid prison, and strongly recommended accountability from the involved personalities. We also called for the intensification of the Small Town Lottery operations to curb illegal gambling. The PCSO, in response, has reported expansion of its operations along with the increased employment of cabos and cobradores in STL. We are confident that the PCSO has also been cooperative with our uncompromising stance on reviewing STL applicants with strict scrutiny.
The Minority also actively participated in the deliberations of the now enacted TRAIN law and remained watchful of its impact per year of implementation. We have repeatedly called for programs that could cushion the negative effects of TRAIN to the consuming public, and sought the corresponding compliance of government agencies to timelines especially in the Build, Build, Build program which the TRAIN seeks to finance, and the efficient revenue collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs. As a result of our persistence, Republic Act No. 11213, also known as the Tax Amnesty Act, was passed and signed in 2018. Meanwhile, revenue collection of the BIR and BOC are still being monitored for compliance. To improve collection, we have reiterated implementation of the Attrition Law. Hopefully, we will see the Attrition Law implemented soon to aid this administration in its drive against corruption.
During budget deliberations, we were vigilant in assessing the performance of each agency, as against their corresponding budget proposals. We invoked the power of the purse to ask for the commitment of our government agencies in expediting and resolving delayed projects, and the elimination of underspending. Agencies eventually responded, and we remain firm and incessant in calling out those agencies whose performance are lagging behind. For numerous times, the Minority has also sought for the amendment of the procurement act due to various issues that stem from its implementation.
I am proud to say that I have good and competent legislators in the Minority. These honorable men and women stood with me amid all issues that surrounded the legitimacy of the House Minority bloc. We have been called many names, but our accomplishments speak for themselves. We remained true to our vision of becoming a constructive Minority—we give credit where it is due, and call the administration’s attention when necessary, and always with a view to providing solutions.
Fortunately, some members of the Minority will still be in the 18th Congress. I am confident that our shared views, advocacy, policies and other legislative actions will be pursued further by these dedicated public officials who will be continuing their service in the next Congress. Let me also give honor and thanks to the late Hon. Ciriaco Calalang and the late Hon. Rodel Batocabe, who, during their lifetime, have made significant strides in legislation and were actively involved in the hearings and debates.
On June 30, I will be taking my oath of office as Governor of the Province of Quezon. Rest assured, dear readers, that we will continue to engage in relevant conversations of national interest.
Mabuhay kayong lahat. Maraming salamat po.