The double-digit jump in the trust ratings of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in the Tugon ng Masa (TNM) Q1 2023 survey of Octa Research can be attributed to the House’s effective efforts to be responsive to what affects the lives of working Filipinos and that the Speaker has shown the House to be a more dynamic partner of the Executive in getting things done.
This was stressed by House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda.
“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,” Salceda said.
“Our hearings are also not grandstanding for the media. We produce results,” he added.
Salceda cited the House’s work with 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,” the solon said.
“In my committee, we’ve been trying to solve VAT issues with our exporters, and I’m happy to report that the solutions are now on the BIR 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,” Salceda added.
“The Water Resources Management Office has also been created, and that is the work of the DENR in partnership with the House – which has been hearing issues on the water crisis through legislation creating the Department of Water Resources,” said Salceda, who chairs the technical working group on the issue, added. “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.”
Salceda also says that the House, ‘surprisingly,’ has been able to work “both critically and constructively with executive agencies.”
“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,” Salceda pointed out.
“Ultimately, of course, in a democracy, it’s simple. High marks for good work. The Speaker does his homework well, so he gets high grades from the people,” Salceda concluded.