Senator Loren Legarda’s Acceptance Speech for the Senate President Pro Tempore PositionJuly 25, 2022
Senator Loren Legarda’s
Acceptance Speech for the Senate President Pro Tempore Position
July 25, 2022, Senate Session Hall
It is with great honor that I accept the Senate President Pro Tempore position. I am truly humbled by the support given by my colleagues to lead this august chamber, which I considered my home for 18 years.
Maraming salamat muli sa mahigit dalawampu’t apat na milyong Pilipino na nagtiwala at nagbigay sa akin ng pagkakataong muling maglingkod bilang four-term Senator.
When I first entered the halls of Congress twenty-four years ago, I was just a novice in the political arena hoping to make a change in our country. My exposure to our society’s ills as a journalist led me to take on the role of a public servant, a Senator of the Republic, and I have then vowed to work tirelessly to find solutions to our country’s problems. That was in 1998. I was 38 years old.
Today, I stand here before you as the most senior senator, having come full circle with 18 years of experience in the Senate and 3 years of experience in the House of Representatives. Indeed, it has been a fulfilling journey, but our sojourn has not yet come to an end. Hindi pa tapos ang ating trabaho.
Over the last 20 years, we have enacted laws, established programs, and ushered in policies. I have forwarded, supported, and contributed to advocacies that better our society.
From peacekeeping negotiations and humanitarian missions to the pandemic of present day, we have continued to forge on our commitment to assist those who are in need, to those who are vulnerable, underprivileged and deprived. Sa ating pagbangon mula sa pandemya, iisa lamang ang ating layunin para sa ating bansa: magkaroon ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan, wakasan ang kahirapan, ituloy ang ating mga programa para sa mahihirap, at makamit ang pambansang pagbangon at pag-unlad.
I have advocated for green development, having authored and sponsored laws on environmental governance, protection of the environment, and conservation of our natural resources. Having traveled the country and learned about our rich heritage and culture, we continue to support projects and programs that promote and showcase the exceptional skills and world-class products of our indigenous peoples, our culture bearers.
Hindi rin mawawala sa ating mga layunin ang mga programa sa kalusugan, edukasyon, trabaho at kabuhayan, at social services. Ilan lamang ito sa ating mga adbokasiya na siniguro nating mapopondohan noong ako ay nabigyan din ng pagkakataon na manilbihan bilang Chair ng Senate Committee on Finance.
We introduced and sponsored vital amendments in the budget allocation for various sectors to ensure that the national budget supported socio-economic services —providing subsidies for free public tertiary education and additional funding for state universities and colleges; free health care services in government hospitals; free irrigation services for small farmers; more budget for social welfare programs; and increased funding to support rural livelihoods and micro, small, and medium enterprises.
The pathway toward pandemic recovery is through the economic empowerment of every Filipino. That means supporting our MSMEs – which account for 99.51% of our country’s businesses and are responsible for an estimated 5,380,815 jobs or 62.66% of our country’s employment – and bolstering the efficiency of our health sector as part of our vital investments in our human capital by pushing for the full implementation of Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, which we co-authored.
My fellow Senators, my dear colleagues, and friends, we have a great deal of work ahead of us. It is not a cakewalk, and we cannot do this unilaterally. For this distinct privilege to work for and with you, I thank you. Thank you for this opportunity to serve as your Senate President Pro Tempore, under the leadership of Senate President Zubiri, as we steer the 19th Congress towards its objectives.
Sa loob ng dalawampu’t-isang taon malawak na ang ating naging karanasan bilang inyong mambabatas sa mataas at mababang kapulungan. Malayo na ang ating narating ngunit madami pa rin tayong kailangan gagawin. Handa akong salubungin ng buong puso ang bagong tungkulin na inyong iniatang sa akin. Umasa kayo na aking gagampanan ito, sa tulong ninyo, para sa bawat Pilipino.
I stand before you now, excited and filled with hope. I may be the most senior Senator in terms of tenure, whom you all call Tita Ganda with fondness, but this “tita” stands before you with the same determination to serve you and the Filipino people.
Now more than ever, we have to foster unity and good governance for a free, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient progressive Philippines.
Thank you, Mr. President.