People-centered, service-oriented laws

Through legislation, representation, and constituency services, I hope that we can bring essential public services even closer to more of our fellow Filipinos.

Bearing in mind that the laws we pass now will keenly affect the lives of every Filipino and even charter the course of our country, I am all the more committed to pushing for people-centered and service-oriented legislation as we resume our regular sessions in the Senate this week.

Among my priority bills still include measures to improve further our healthcare sector and promote the welfare of our health workers who protect the lives and well-being of our fellow Filipinos, even at the expense of their own. In particular,

I continue to prioritize the passage of the measure that would mandate the establishment of regional specialty hospitals or centers. I also advocate for the passage of my Senate Bill No. 427, which would require the provision of allowances and benefits to our barangay health workers; SBN 195, which would establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and SBN 196, which would create the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

Some of my other priority measures are Senate Bill No. 188 which will establish the Department of Disaster Resilience to ensure a more holistic and proactive approach to natural disasters; SBN 192 or the Rental Housing Subsidy Bill to help address homelessness in our country; SBN 193, or the proposed Mandatory Evacuation Center Act, to ensure that disaster victims will have temporary shelters that will guarantee their safety and welfare as they rebuild their lives, and SBN 194 or the proposed E-Governance Act to make our government more responsive to the demands of changing times.

I am grateful to be able to record perfect attendance in our regular sessions for the 19th Congress so far, which ran from 25 July to 14 December 2022. As we welcome a new year, I intend to continue my work not only in terms of legislation but also in fulfilling my responsibilities as your representative to the Senate and in bringing public services closer to our constituents.

Thus, taking advantage of the time ahead of the resumption of our sessions, I maximized my schedule last week so I could personally visit and aid many of our fellow Filipinos in need, inspect various local infrastructures we had earlier supported, and attend the groundbreaking or launch of several health facilities across the country.

I started the week by personally attending the inauguration of two multipurpose buildings in Barangays Batasan Hills and Commonwealth in Quezon City on January 16, while my staff provided relief assistance to 23 landslide victims in Maco, Davao de Oro.

I am also happy that our Malasakit Centers program reached yet another milestone in the fifth year since its inception, as I joined the successful launch of the 154th Malasakit Center at the Camiguin General Hospital in Mambajao, Camiguin on 18 January. I then witnessed the groundbreaking of the Mambajao Super Health Center, led a relief operation for the town’s indigents, and inspected various infrastructure projects in Barangay Bonbon in Catarman — construction of a seawall and a multipurpose gymnasium, both in Purok 3, and a barangay hall, evacuation center, and installation of solar lights in Purok 4.

The following day, I attended the turnover and blessing of a new building in the Community College of Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, the funding of which I earlier advocated for. In Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental, we assisted 2,563 flood victims. My staff continued the relief distribution to 73 indigent students in Catarman, Camiguin; and the groundbreaking of the Super Health Center in Guinsiliban, Camiguin.

On 20 January, I was back in Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City to attend the inauguration of yet another multipurpose building and the mWell Medical Para sa Barangay Teleconsultation booth, and the groundbreaking of a sports complex in Siniloan, Laguna.

I spent my Saturday joining Ilonggos in celebrating their Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City before witnessing the groundbreaking of four Super Health Centers — one in the town of Maasin in Iloilo province; and three others in the towns of Kalibo, Numancia and Tangalan, all in Aklan province.

I also spearheaded the distribution of relief aid for 248 tornado victims in Oton, Iloilo; 217 typhoon victims in Kalibo, 500 more in Numancia, and 1,900 farmers in Tangalan, Aklan. As a fitting end to the long day, I joined the Ati-atihan coronation night in Ibajay, Aklan.

All in all, I am glad to have had such a fruitful week. It was unfortunate that I was not able to push through with my visit to Northern Samar due to a mechanical issue in one of the aircraft’s engines,
which forced my flight to be put on a halt. However, I am still thankful that my outreach team was already in the province and pushed through with the aid distribution to 1,000 residents from various sectors in Mapanas, 742 senior citizens and solo parents in Lavezares, Northern Samar. Relief goods were also turned over to the local government of Catarman for flood victims.

Through legislation, representation, and constituency services, I hope that we can bring essential public services even closer to more of our fellow Filipinos, especially to the needy, the hopeless, and the helpless — those who have no one else to rely on but our government. Amid all the challenges, our work continues as we pave the path toward a safer and more comfortable life for all.

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