SGMA: Epitome of #TheWorkingHouse
"Arroyo authored seven bills, six of which became laws, even amidst her detention."After a historic run as the first woman to lead the House of Representatives, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is about to finish her term as the representative of the second district of Pampanga and step down on her house speakership, she looked to leave as an inspiration to a magnitude of women in Congress.
As a distinct figure of women empowerment in the country, SGMA has the portfolio to live to that image. She once held the highest position of the country for nine years the second woman to sit as PH President. In a position dominated by men, SGMA was chosen to lead the 292-member House of Representatives. A sudden influence shift in Congress moves the People’s House to a Working House under Arroyo. The 72-year-old lawmaker is at the last leg of her term as the second district representative of Pampanga. As the 2019 midterm election results stand, it would be her son Mikey Arroyo who shall continue on her work in their District in Pampanga. For the incoming 18th Congress, Arroyo wishes for her successor to carry on the definition of a real Working House.
SGMA, who has been working outside the session hall of the Lower House even during the three-month campaign recess, shows the maiden woman Speaker as a real embodiment of a hardworking leader. Arroyo, in an unprecedented move, also asked the different committees to continue the hearings during the recess period and return to legislation once the election season ends. Mrs. Arroyo herself is also making rounds following up the status of important initiatives. With more than 32 years of expertise in serving the people, starting from her appointment as an Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, her vast experience in politics and as an economist herself, SGMA remained as one of the lawmakers that target urban poor and the economic growth of the country. Speaker Arroyo tabled the project for urban poor housing with the House oversight committees for both R.A. 9207 and R.A. 10023 (Free Patent Law) and requested a P350-M budget to fund the distribution to qualified beneficiaries.
In fact, SGMA led an oversight hearing of the committee on housing and urban development recently, to speed up the distribution of land titles to the urban poor housing beneficiaries. This is one of the many projects Arroyo kept on pushing through as part of her job as a caring figure inside the Working House. As she leads by example, SGMA is often seen attending different committee hearings and plenary sessions. SGMA never forgot to have a talk with different political parties to sort things out and give her instructions. Now, Mrs. Arroyo has made quite a success as a Speaker, therefore a quick recap on how she made her mark as the head of the legislature and her trailblazing feats and achievements as the first woman House Speaker of the country will show how she turned Congress into a Working House for the Filipino people. That change has been evident since Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the helm, bringing with her the bravado and great zeal which has influenced the 292-strong member House of Representatives into crafting and approving numerous bills in only a short span of time. Probably the most notable bills passed under the helm of SGMA is the Republic Act No. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law, created for the establishment of an autonomous political entity is known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
As the bill was supposed to be enacted before the third State of the Nation Address by President Rodrigo Duterte, the ratification of the bicameral committee report on the bill was halted due to leadership change. But as promised by Arroyo, once she took the Speaker’s seat, the report was ratified on July 2018, making the way for the bill of the House and Senate to be sent to the President for his signature. Looking back, SGMA showed the whole legislative body the true meaning of public service at a time when you would not expect power of the mind to prevail over the challenges of circumstance.
And she did all this even amidst her detention, she revealed in 2016. Six of the seven bills then became laws, which showcased her passion for public service. Two of those bills were in collaboration with her youngest son, then-Camarines Sur Rep Dato Arroyo. She shared that the first bill that she and Dato filed that became a law was the Household Helpers’ Rights (Kasambahay Bill). HB1140, was filed on August 2, 2010 and then it became law on January 18, 2013. The second one being the Aquaculture and Fisheries Mechanization bill, filed on the same day as the House Helper’s Rights which became a law on June 5, 2013. In an interview, she said that there was one bill that did get affected by her detention, which is why it did not “come out the way she wanted.” “On November 11, 2010, I, after having some discussions with overseas Filipinos and we were discussing about overseas voters’ rights, they wanted a bill that would give them more rights, more political rights, so therefore I filed a bill on absentee voting,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
“The absentee voting that was mine and maybe that’s why it was not passed exactly the way I wanted to because I wanted to allow overseas Filipinos who had become dual citizenship and coming back to be able to enter public office. I wanted that to be the amendment. But because I was in detention, I couldn’t exactly say what my purpose was when it went through the legislative mill. What came out was really having more registration centers. In other words, increasing the participation of overseas Filipinos in the voting exercise so it was not exactly the way I had wanted to do it had I been outside. At least, I’m glad, as a result, the voting participation also increased,” she added. In detention she also authored the Anti-Drunk Driving Act. During Arroyo’s speakership, among those signed by the President was Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act based on HB 6221, which establishes a single national identification system to promote the seamless delivery of government services and increase transparency while reducing corruption in the delivery of social services. Speaker Arroyo also led the House to the passage of the Coconut Levy Fund and the Rice Tariffication Act which had already been ratified by both Houses. Arroyo is keen to promote changes in the country. She is a staunch supporter of the Federal government the administration is aiming to establish.