THE House of Representatives formally adjourned on Tuesday and paid tribute to its “graduating” third termers and outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose “concern” during her brief term was “to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s legacy.”
After the sine die adjournment rites, lawmakers with three terms went up the stage of the plenary hall to receive their certificates of recognition and have their photos taken.
In her farewell speech, Arroyo thanked her colleagues for helping the 17th Congress achieve “genuine milestones that will benefit both the present and next generation of Filipinos.”
Arroyo lauded the lawmakers for their “tireless work and dedication,” which paved way for the passing of 250 House bills into law since July 23, 2018.
Arroyo fulfills mission to support Duterte legacy
Despite having the shortest term as the 25th speaker, Arroyo reiterated that her primary mission as head of the House was to support the legacy of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“My concern has not been on my legacy as Speaker – my concern as Speaker was to support President Duterte’s legacy in the year that I had as the head of this House,” she said.
Through House Resolution 2600, Majority Leader Fredenil Castro and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez lauded Arroyo for passing “several vital socio-economic measures,” including the priority measures enumerated by Duterte during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2018.
Among these measures were Republic Act (RA) 1105 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (House Bill 6475), RA 11203 or an Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice (HB 7735), and RA 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act (HB 5784).
The outgoing speaker urged the House to continue helping Duterte in “harvesting the fruits of the seeds planted” under his term.
“In the first three years of President Duterte’s Administration, many good seeds were planted by way of Executive decisions, the legislative agenda, strategic foreign engagements, and bold reforms. In the remaining years of his term, we just all need to help in the implementation to harvest the fruits of those seeds within President Duterte’s term,” she said.
Arroyo also lauded younger lawmakers for demonstrating exemplary work attitude in Congress.
“I am also very gratified that as House Speaker, I was given more opportunity to work with our younger politicians. From what I have seen of them, their generation will serve our country very well indeed when their time comes. Congratulations, young ones!” she said.
“We are all on a journey together. As our nation moves forward, let us all join hands in unity and walk confidently towards a better tomorrow. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for giving me the honor and privilege of serving you,” Arroyo ended.
The outgoing members of Congress include Minority Leader and Quezon governor-elect Danilo Suarez; Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. who are both set to retire from politics.
The 18th Congress will formally convene on July 22 when Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address.