AlbayY Rep. Joey Salceda on Sunday credited the double-digit jump in the trust ratings of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in the Tugon ng Masa Q1 2023 survey of Octa Research to Congress’ “obvious and effective efforts to be responsive to what affects the lives of working Filipinos.”
He said Romualdez “has shown the House to be a more dynamic partner of the Executive in getting things done.”
“We’ve been a dynamic partner, in the sense that we tackle more priority legislation faster, and we practice our oversight functions more often and with greater intent. That means we partner with the executive in crafting better rules and regulations to existing legislation, and we work to implement programs better,” he said.
“Our hearings are also not grandstanding for the media. We produce results,” he added.
He mentioned the House of Representatives’ work to lower food prices through hearings with the Department of Agriculture and economic agencies to produce better rules and enforcement and fight cartels.
“Onion prices are down from a high of P700 per kilo to just around P125-175. At one point, farmgate went down to the P50 level. We caught the cartels and had them detained in the House,” he said.
“In my committee, we’ve been trying to solve value-added tax issues with our exporters, and I’m happy to report that the solutions are now on the Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner’s desk for numbering.
Essentially, more expenses will be eligible for VAT zero-rating. Logistics will also be considered exporters, effectively. So logistics expenses will no longer charge for VAT from exporters. We are also simplifying the process of VAT refunds. And, soon, we hope to resolve the VAT issues for domestic market enterprises in ecozones,” he added.
Salceda noted the creation of the Water Resources Management Office prompted in part by House hearings on the water crisis issue.
“It’s also the Speaker’s close involvement in solving issues like the Mindoro oil spill, security issues in Negros Oriental, and disaster response in places like Davao de Oro,” he said.
“Meanwhile, under his leadership, we committee chairpersons have been burying our heads in the work. The result of that is that the First Regular Session of Congress has come up with about 350 bills and resolutions on third reading – a pipeline for the Senate to act on,” he added.
Congress, he said, has been able to work “both critically and constructively with executive agencies.”
“And we have not been afraid to work on potentially controversial pieces of legislation, such as charter change and the sovereign investment fund. People can ultimately see that, that we are after what’s needed, not what’s popular. And I think that earns the House leadership a certain respect,” he said
“We have been able to freely criticize them in a way that leads to results. I guess when you are the President’s first cousin, you do not need to be preoccupied with proving your loyalty to keep your Speakership. And that dynamic allows the whole House to do what we need to do, sometimes including being critical of some agencies when criticism can lead to better results,” he added.