Speaker cites record House achievements this year, says rice subsidy in 2024 budget to bring down staple’s price

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday tonight took pride in the record achievements of the House of Representatives this year in terms of approved bills that would sustain economic growth, create more jobs, and income opportunities and in general, make life better for the people.

In his remarks before adjourning the session of the House of Representatives for its Christmas recess, the Speaker said in addition to these “sterling accomplishments,” the House ratified last Monday the “most important measure that we passed this year – the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for Fiscal Year 2024.”

“The House of Representatives considers it a core mission to utilize the national budget next year to address four major concerns: fight inflation, keep the price of rice and other basic food items at affordable levels, provide more jobs and livelihood, and expand social services,” he said.

He said next year’s outlay includes a “revolutionary rice subsidy program” of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

“With this new program, we seek to drive down the price of quality rice by almost half for 28 million Filipinos who are under challenging situations,” he added

“Kung maipapatupad ang programang ito, magagamit ng ating mga kababayan ang pera nila para makabili ng bigas nang hindi lalampas sa P30 per kilo. Hindi rin lugi dito ang mga kapatıd nating magsasaka dahil gagamitin ang government subsidy sa pagbili ng bigas mula sa kanilang palayan,” Speaker Romualdez stressed.

He pointed out that the rice subsidy program would be implemented in all districts, cities and communities, from Aparri in Cagayan in the north to Jolo, Sulu in the south.

The leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives told his colleagues that his chamber, under his leadership, also took a “more activist role” in nation-building.

“Many have noticed that the House of the People, perhaps for the first time, is exercising fully its oversight function to address the concerns of ordinary Filipinos,” he said.
In aid of legislation, he said the House exposed and brought down a cartel in the onion industry, driving the agricultural product’s price back to manageable level.

“We are fighting the cartels behind smuggling, hoarding and price manipulation of rice and other food commodities. We are helping the executive department in its relentless war against big-time drug traffickers,” he said.

“Kasama tayong lagi ng Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sa lahat ng laban niya – laban para wakasan ang kahirapan, laban kontra droga, laban para sa kapayapaan at kasaganaan ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino,” he said.

Touching on the House accomplishments, the Speaker reported that
the House had passed all 20 measures prioritized by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) as of September, “or three months ahead of schedule.”

He said President Marcos, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2023, mentioned 17 priority bills “sustain our economic recovery and improve the living condition of our people.”

“It is with great pride and honor to report to this august chamber that we passed all of these 17 SONA priority measures seven months ahead of the President’s next SONA in July 2024,” he said.

He said with the timely approval of urgent legislative proposals endorsed by the President and the LEDAC, “we, as the duty elected representatives of the Filipino people, have done our bounden duty to realize their aspirations by strengthening the economy, revitalizing businesses and broadening the scope of services provided to the majority of our citizenry.”

“This august body recognizes the urgency and significance of these measures, and I am proud to say that everyone has done his and her share in actively participating in legislative discussions, building consensus and advocating the approval of these critical measures,” he added.

The House leader enumerated priority bills his chamber has approved, many of which were commonly listed by the LDEAC and by the President in his SONA

Of the 20 LEDAC measures, four have been enacted into law: 1) The National Employment Master Plan or Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act; 2) LGU Income Classification Act; 3) Internet Transactions Act; and 4) Public-Private Partnership Code of the Philippines.