Vice President Sara Duterte’s decision to no longer pursue her request for P500 million in confidential funds in next year’s budget bodes well for maintaining a “united team” that will serve the people, Speaker Martin Romualdez said.
“We always work together. It is still a Uniteam. The President always wants us to work together, so we will always strive for that… We will band together and unite as one for the service of the Filipino,” Romualdez said on Monday at the House of Representatives’ flag-raising ceremony.
“I believe that’s the right decision [on the OVP’s part]. We hail Vice President Sara’s decision,” he added.
Duterte on Thursday said her office would no longer pursue the confidential funds.
“This issue is divisive, and as the Vice President, I swore an oath to keep the country peaceful and strong,” Duterte said in a statement.
Romualdez said he is “always… very, very hopeful” that the relationship between the House of Representatives and the OVP will improve.
“As they always say, there will always be differences, but we will always work towards resolving those differences for the service of the Filipino people – that’s our primordial concern,” the Speaker said.
The House last month said it would redistribute confidential and intelligence funds originally allotted to civilian agencies such as the OVP and DepEd to agencies that deal directly with national security issues.
At the time, Duterte branded those who opposed the P650 million in CIF for her agencies as “enemies of the state.”
A recent OCTA Research survey showed that 57 percent of adult Filipinos “agreed” with the House’s decision to reallocate CIFs.
As this developed, Romualdez on Monday praised the personnel of the House of Representatives, including congressional staff, for their hard work and dedication to duty, saying they are the chamber’s principal strength.
“We recognize that our greatest asset is not the walls that surround us, nor the laws we pass, but the people who work tirelessly to uphold the pillars of our democracy,” Romualdez told House employees during their flag-raising ceremony.
“Your hard work, dedication, and resilience are the driving forces behind our remarkable achievements. Let us continue to work hand in hand, with integrity and commitment, as we steer this House towards greater heights,” he added.
He said the House leadership has been trying to appropriately compensate its workforce and to improve their working environment.
“The construction of a permanent secretariat building is underway, a testament to our commitment to providing a stable and conducive work environment for our staff. In the realm of technology, we are undergoing a network modernization project. This upgrade will not only enhance our digital infrastructure but also ensure that we stay connected and efficient in this rapidly evolving digital age,” he said.
The House is also establishing its Institute for Legislation and Legislative Governance, which the Speaker said would “serve as a beacon of knowledge and learning, enriching our understanding and skills in legislation and governance.”
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