For House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she sees her new role two fold—to help President Rodrigo Duterte and to help members of the House of Representatives serve their constituents, especially during times of emergencies.
“I see my role as a speaker, mainly twofold. One to carry out the legislative agenda of President Duterte and second is to help our congressmen serve their constituents especially their most immediate needs,” Arroyo said in an interview after the turnover of a brand new MasterWater dredging equipment in Calumpit, Bulacan Friday.
This is the reason, she said, why she has chosen not to engage in politics because by doing so, the Lower House has been able to do more.
“I’m concerned in moving the legislation forward and as you can see, by staying away from all of those matters, we were able to get the bicameral on the coco levy and close the debate on tariffication. We were able to move forward and we were able to settle the issue on the congressmen who are getting zero. They will not get zero,” she said.
On her second function as House Speaker, Arroyo said she wants to make sure that her colleagues are able to give help to their districts, especially during times of calamities and other emergencies.
Arroyo attended the turnover by the Department of Public Works and Highways of the dredging and backhoe equipment to the local government of Calumpit, Bulacan, which is aimed at alleviating the siltation of the Iba Este River in the province. The heavily silted Iba Este River is one of the primary causes of the flooding in Calumpit and nearby towns. The turnover was through the assistance of Arroyo stemming from a request from Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Alvarado.
“Remember we had a briefing regarding the flood control with the NDCC and one of the causes that re-surfaced and has been the explanation since I was a senator is the problem with the Pampanga River and the most immediate solution there is backhoe. You saw what happened when they were bringing out the siltation material, it was full of plastic. The dredger cannot work. The dredger, as what Jonathan said before, will work for two days and then they have to repair it for three months because the plastic destroys the machine. So now the DPWH sent WaterMaster which is a dredger and backhoe,” she explained.
Last week, Arroyo distributed relief goods to residents of Dinalupihan, Bataan, one of the areas worst hit by the recent series of typhoons.
“When we were having a speakership struggle, we were having a raging typhoon and Habagat here and that’s why we have been attending to the needs of the constituents of the districts affected by the floods. Like last week were in Dinalupihan and that was one of the worst hit. In Calumpit, as we speak, they are still giving out relief goods. That’s to carry out the second function that I see as a function of a speaker - to help the congressmen serve their most immediate needs. That’s why I won’t give zero budget even to those congressmen don’t like me at all,” she added.
She said she will continue to do her functions even if some people might misinterpret her acts as aiming for a bigger role in government.
“I just hope [people will not misinterpre]. I can’t help if I do my duty and people will interpret it differently. I can’t be distracted by that. I have to focus. That’s why from the beginning I talked about those two important functions and you can see that everything I’ve done has been consistent with what I say. Everything I’ve done,” she said.
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