October 15, 2017 – House members expressed yesterday confidence that the ratings of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will eventually rise again as people realize that many meaningful and much-needed bills that will benefit the people, especially the poor and other marginalized sectors of society, and promote development in the country were passed by the House of Representatives under his effective and strong leadership.
Deputy Speaker and Cebu Third District Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia said the Speaker’s competent leadership steered the passage of vital bills for the benefit of the poor, elderly, and youth, and to enhance national development.
Garcia said the Speaker also showed strong leadership in deciding on major issues such as the justice committee’s report on the impeachment complaint against Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista.
“In fact, this Second Regular Session alone before we adjourned, the House managed to pass so many significant bills such as the “Magna Carta of the Poor,” “Universal Health Coverage For Filipinos,” “Instituting Policies For The Protection And Welfare Of Caregivers,” “Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program,” among others. We also passed on record time the 2018 General Appropriations Bill which is now in the Senate. All of these were passed under the competent leadership of Speaker Alvarez.”
“I am confident that the ratings of Speaker Alvarez will rise again especially since it was his strong voice and leadership that rallied the 137 congressmen to impeach Comelec Chairman Bautista.”
– Deputy Speaker Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia
Rep. Robert Abe Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte), chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, said good leaders like Alvarez who showed firm resolve and strong political will not mind criticisms, but instead use these as an inspiration to further render service to the people.
“That’s what Speaker Alvarez has shown. Strong leaders make unpopular decisions and policies not to be popular, but to deliver what is good and just.”
– Rep. Robert Abe Barbers
Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District , Quezon City) said the dip in the Speaker’s ratings was an offshoot of the House decision in September to give the Commission on Human Rights a budget of P1,000 for next year. This was voted upon amid the observation of the CHR’s alleged selective application of investigation of human rights violation, he said.
Castelo expressed confidence the Speaker’s ratings drop is normal and temporary.
“Sometimes that is the natural consequence of exercising your political will and expressing candid political sentiments.”
Rep. Rodito Albano (1st District, Isabela), a member of the House contingent to the Commission on Appointments, said the Speaker is a decisive and hard working leader as shown by the numerous accomplishments of the House this 17th Congress.
“The surveys do not reflect everything the House has done under the able leadership of Speaker Alvarez. Whenever there are issues about governance, he is always supportive in ferreting out the truth through inquiries so that the appropriate remedial legislative measures are subsequently crafted. He also ensures that legislative priority is given to the approval of pro-people, pro-poor bills.”
– Rep. Rodito Albano.
Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), chairman of the committee on justice, said the Speaker is not a popularity-conscious leader as shown by his decisions and performance.
In fact, Umali said the Speaker actively supported inquiries on issues about illegal drugs to help stop its proliferation in the country. These include inquiries on the illegal drug trade at the National Bilibid Prison and the P6.4 billion smuggled drugs from China, said Umali.
“While we are confident his ratings will rise again, we’ve seen that Speaker Alvarez is a leader who bases his decision on what is right and necessary, and not on what is popular. That is the mark of a true and strong leader.”
– Rep. Reynaldo Umali
Rep. Joel Mayo Almario (2nd District, Davao Oriental), also a member of the House Commission on Appointments Contingent, said the dip in the Speaker’s ratings was due to the House leader’s unpopular position on some major issues such as the P1,000 CHR budget. The surveys were taken at the time the CHR budget was an issue, he said. Almario said critics will eventually realize the many positive things the Speaker has done in pushing for the enactment of measures for the benefit of the country and the people.
“But it was Speaker Alvarez’s right to voice out his disenchantment over the performance of the CHR. As the Speaker explained, if there are victims of other human rights violations, the CHR does not speak up and it does not have programs for these victims. But when it comes to the rights of criminals, the CHR is rather outspoken. The Speaker has the right to express his sentiments.”
“In fact, the House passed a total of 428 bills and resolutions already since the start of the 17th Congress last year, under the Speaker Alvarez’s good leadership.”
– Rep. Joel Mayo Almario
Almario said 30 laws were already enacted this 17th Congress, including House Bill 5633 as Republic Act 10931 or “An Act Promoting Universal Access To Quality Tertiary Education By Providing For Free Tuition And Other School Fees In State Universities And Colleges And State-Run Technical-Vocational Institutions, Strengthening The Unified Student Financial Assistance System”; HB 5159 as RA 10932 or “An Act Strengthening The Provision Of Emergency Health Care Service To Patients, Further Amending For The Purpose Batas Pambansa Bilang 702, As Amended, Entitled An Act Prohibiting The Demand Of Deposits Or Advanced Payments For The Confinement Or Treatment Of Patients In Hospitals And Medical Clinics In Certain Cases.” HB as RA 10928 or “An Act Extending The Validity Of Philippine Passports, Amending For The Purpose Section 10 Of RA 8239, Otherwise Known As The “Philippine Passport Act Of 1996”; and HB 5225 as RA1029 “An Act Establishing The Free Internet Access Program In Public Places In The Country And Appropriating Funds Therefor.”
Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), chairman of the committee on transportation, said the House managed to pass many vital socio-economic bills during the present 17th Congress because of the sterling leadership of Alvarez.
“The different House committees have been very active in conducting hearings to ensure the timely passage of priority bills. Our daily plenary attendance is also being checked to ensure we are not remiss in our session work. Hence, it is not surprising that under the effective leadership of Speaker Alvarez, the House has been performing very well. We have a lot of accomplishments, including laws enacted, and we will surpass these in the coming months.”
– Rep. Cesar Sarmiento