Employment, pandemic recovery, environment among issues Legarda hopes to be tackled on SONA

July 23, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda hopes to hear President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. tackle issues that would help uplift the lives of Filipinos such as employment, pandemic recovery, and the environment during the Chief Executive’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

“I look forward to hearing the President’s plans after a year in office. I’d like to see a roadmap for sustainable pandemic recovery not just in the health sector, but in food and energy security, job creation, and livelihood, especially support for MSMEs, which are equally important,” she stated.

Legarda mentioned that the country needs a whole-of-nation approach to realizing a more robust environmental sustainability plan. Long hailed as a champion in the fight against climate change, she said she is ready to take on priority measures that espouse and promote inclusive, sustainable, and resilient development once again as the second regular session of the current Congress commences.

The Philippines, one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, is in constant threat due to climate change, which devastates the country through extreme weather patterns such as stronger typhoons and intense heat.

Legarda asserted that the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act and the proposed Blue Economy Act could help bring much-needed help to the country.

“We should consider and account for our country’s natural resources, for it is our responsibility to help preserve and, if possible, enrich our God-given gifts,” the veteran senator conveyed.

“If we are aware of the amount of our vast natural resources, the government can find ways to make informed decisions which could balance the spur of economic growth and the preservation of the environment,” she continued.

Legarda added that the proposed Blue Economy Bill seeks to support efforts to achieve a vibrant and sustainable economy by prioritizing the country’s marine resources.

An archipelago with more than 7,600 islands, the Philippines has abundant marine resources and long coastlines that habitats have utilized for thousands of years.

She also called on the monitoring of various government agencies as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has entered into force for the Philippines.

“I’d like to see our country continuously engage in the global and world stage – in terms of trade, cultural promotion, education, national security, and other forms of cooperation – which the President did in his 12 months as Chief Executive,” she said.

Moreover, Legarda welcomed the lifting of the State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19 through Proclamation No. 297 issued by Malacañang on Friday, announced in a statement released Saturday.

“This is indeed a significant development in our fight against COVID-19. This is good news for everyone and a fresh start toward rebuilding after the pandemic. The global health crisis has posed tremendous challenges but also provided many learnings and an opportunity to transform and reimagine our systems, especially strengthening our primary healthcare delivery,” she said.

Legarda, one of the most prolific lawmakers in the Senate, contributed significantly to many of the laws passed during the First Regular Session of the 19th Congress.

“There is much more to do to achieve sustainable development for our country. As the Second Regular Session of the 19th Congress begins, we look forward to crafting more measures that will uplift the lives of our kababayans. It will always be an honor serving the Filipino people and working toward our nation’s progress,” Legarda concluded. (End)