Opening Remarks of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda Committee Deliberation on the New Normal Bill

May 18, 2020

Good morning.

We are gathered today under unique circumstances.

The Coronavirus Disease has upended the way we live and the way we do business. It has shone light on the domino effect that is triggered when one element is destabilized in the interconnected system of human health, planetary health, and economic stability.

Clearly, we are grappling with a crisis of enormous scale and human impact.

This is a moment in time when our work here in Congress is in its most critical.

Everything we do during and after this Covid-19 pandemic will ultimately define our country’s readiness and responsiveness to the challenges of the new normal.

The only way forward is to heed science and make decisive actions toward staging a recovery that will pave the way for a better normal for the Filipino people.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has consistently warned us in the past years that a higher degree of global warming would lead to the emergence of new infectious diseases.

Experts from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, on the other hand, cautioned that Covid-19 may be only the beginning.

The choices we will make today will shape the future of the Filipino people. If we are not careful, pandemics could happen more frequently, spread more quickly, and could have greater social and economic impacts than Covid-19.

This is why we must ensure that our actions from now on do not restore the vulnerabilities we had before the pandemic, more so spawn new risks of future outbreaks and crises.

We must stage a green and resilient Covid-19 recovery that values the intrinsic link between human health, the climate, and the environment.

We can achieve a sustainable future for all Filipinos – if we anchor our development pursuits on reducing risk and building community resilience to disasters and climate change.

For this development pathway, the guideposts are already up and lit: the post-2015 global development frameworks, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement.

These frameworks of action should guide us in legislating the New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020.

Guided foremost by the principles of “protecting the most vulnerable, ensuring health and safety for all, guaranteeing respect for human rights, and facilitating the inclusive and holistic economic well-being of all sectors and industries,” this proposed bill will pave a well-planned path toward a new, or should I say “better normal” for the Filipino people.

As we aim to prepare and educate the Filipino public for life after lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, let us ensure that our bill do not only help the people adapt to the new norms of physical distancing, but also re-learn to live in harmony with nature.

Today, let us start institutionalizing a better way of life for the Filipino people—one that will ensure a healthier, greener, and safer future for the generations that will come after us.

Thank you.