By Maricel Cruz | Manila Standard
Filipinos can look forward to a better life under the leadership of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and incoming Vice President Sara Duterte, House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez said Wednesday.
Romualdez said this after his ceremonial oath-taking as reelected representative—witnessed in person by Duterte —at the Remedios T. Romualdez Medical Foundation Gymnasium in Calanipawan Road in Tacloban City.
“My kasimanwas (countrymen), a brighter future awaits all of us. Our new President and Vice President share with us our dream of a better generation for our children. Not only here in Tacloban and Eastern Visayas, but in all parts of the country,” the lawmaker said in his inaugural address.
This developed as an opposition lawmaker on Wednesday urged the incoming 19th Congress to urgently pass measures that will help ease the impact of increasing oil prices.
“The consecutive big-time oil price hikes have taken a huge toll on our people. Prices of basic services and commodities like food have started to increase as well because of the high cost of fuel,” Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said.
“In the incoming 19th Congress, we, along with the other Makabayan progressive party-lists, will prioritize filing bills to mitigate effects of the oil crisis,” she added.
Romualdez took his oath before Brgy. 109-A Chairman Rodolfo Padillo.
He ran unopposed in the May 9 elections. Tingog Party-list Representatives-elect Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude Acidre and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez also took their ceremonial oaths at the venue.
Marcos Jr. greeted Romualdez, his maternal cousin, and other Leyte election winners via video message.
“I would just like to add my congratulations to the officers and officials taking their oath today, namely of course the honorable Ferdinand Martin Gomez Romualdez who is taking his oath as congressman, the first district, and is the incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives,” the President-elect said.
To the other elected officials, Marcos said: “I look forward to working with you all very, very closely. As I say to all our numbers, the problems we are facing now and post-pandemic are going to be serious challenges and that is why I ask all of you for your help in making the country better and making the lives of our people better.”
“But today, let us celebrate the oathtaking of our officials, and congratulations from me. Looking forward to working with you in the next six years. Congratulations to you all,” said the incoming Chief executive, who was all smiles in his video.
In her speech, Duterte thanked Romualdez for taking her into the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, among the oldest and most respected political parties in the country, as its new chairperson.
The daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte also had words of appreciation for Romualdez in connection with his role as one of her two campaign managers during this year’s election.
“I’d like to personally publicly thank Cong. Martin Romualdez for taking me in, in Lakas-CMD and accepting the challenge to be my campaign manager, one of my two campaign managers during the last election. It was not without… any challenges, but you did very well… 32.2 million votes,” Duterte said, noting the votes she tallied to win the vice presidency.
In his speech, Romualdez highlighted the challenges the Marcos administration would face, saying the biggest one would be reducing poverty through the attainment of inclusive growth.
“Inclusive growth. Dapat pakinabangan ng lahat ang biyaya ng pag-unlad [We should all be reaping the benefits of progress]. That is what we aim for in Tacloban and even in the whole of Eastern Visayas in the next three years under my next term as your Representative in the 19th Congress,” he said.
Romualdez added that achieving such a goal may be a “tall order,” given that inflation is rising, the budget deficit is widening and the global economic outlook is bleak.
“But the election of dynamic and compassionate leaders at the highest levels of government gives us all hope of a brighter future,” he stressed.
“For the first time since 1986, we have elected a majority President in the person of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. The overwhelming mandate that he received from the Filipino voters will surely help him steer the nation in the direction that we all desire—one that is anchored on his message of unity and his vision of Filipino nationhood,” Romualdez added.
The House leader pointed out the nation also elected “a young Vice President, Sara Duterte, who is known for her strong conviction and compassionate leadership.”
“Her tenacity in demanding quality service from public servants of Davao City is known—a legend of its own—not only in the region but in other parts of the country. Her concern for the welfare of the poor and the marginalized lies at the core of her character, guiding all her decisions as the city’s top executive. I have no doubt that she will serve as the best Vice President we will ever have,” he said.
For the first time in more than three decades, the country would have a President and Vice President working as a team, Romualdez, who was
one of Duterte’s campaign managers, said.
“I am fortunate to have seen, up close, the dynamics between President-elect Bongbong Marcos and Vice-President-elect Inday Sara Duterte. Their relationship is one of mutual respect and one guided by the duty to serve the Filipino. This energetic tandem, I am sure, will work hand-in hand to help improve the living condition of our people,” he said.
Romualdez emphasized that the May 9 elections were a “triumph of democracy, the power of one’s vote and the voice of the majority.”
He thanked all those who participated in the electoral exercise, including teachers and policemen, barangay officials, volunteers, campaign staff, the media, watchdog groups, and “millions of nameless and faceless Filipinos who made sure that the voice of the people reigns supreme.”
Romualdez cited the victors for their “magnanimity” and their opponents for their “graciousness.”
“Their conduct and demeanor in the campaign as well as their acceptance of the will of the people made the just concluded election one of most peaceful and orderly ever,” he said.
Romualdez said he was happy that after two years of community quarantine and lockdowns, Filipinos could gather again—“to see old
and new friends, to hug family and loved ones, to commune as one people.”
He urged them to praise and thank the Lord for the “gift of life.”
“Each one of us here today is a survivor of the worst pandemic in modern times. We never thought that we will make it through this far. Salamat sa Panginoon sa pagbibigay sa atin ng panibagong buhay. We have lost loved ones, though, along the way,” he said.
The House leader then called for a minute of silent prayer for those who lost their lives to COVID-19.