The most reform-minded Congress

If things seem brighter, better and more buoyant these days for millions of Filipinos, they have President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the current 19th Congress mainly to thank for.

In just 18 months (July 25, 2022 to the present), the most far-ranging and highest impact pieces of social and economic legislation passed through the 19th Congress. 

This makes the House of Representatives led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez the most productive and visionary Congress in the 117-year history of an elected Philippine legislature.

Legislative-led social and economic reforms covered a mind-boggling range, including measures to raise badly needed capital for modernization (the Maharlika Investment Fund), help achieve fiscal balance (the budgets of 2023 and 2024), curb corruption, emancipate farmers, and promote economic dynamism, national digitalization (SIM Card Law and Internet Transactions Act), disaster resilience, consumer protection, military pension reform, military modernization, health care, and tax reforms such as the estate tax amnesty, ease of payment of taxes, and CREATE.

The annual general appropriations act (GAA) must originate only from the House.  GAA’s principal purpose is economic transformation. 

Not surprisingly, in 2022, the Philippines scored an economic growth of the country’s highest GDP growth since 1976, surpassing all forecasts and outperforming even the government’s growth range target of 6.5 to 7.5% for 2022.

In 2023, economic growth was 5.6%.  The country missed its target of 6-7%.  Still, 5.6 is the highest in ASEAN.

Romualdez laws

Among the measures authored by the Cornell-educated Leyte Congressman Martin Romualdez during the first and second regular sessions of the 19th Congress which convened on July 25, 2022 and will adjourn on June 6, 2025:

1. RA No. 11934 – Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act

2. RA No. 11936 – General Appropriations Act of 2023

3. RA No. 11937 – An Act Granting Philippine Citizenship to Justin Donta Brownlee

4. RA No. 11953 – New Agrarian Emancipation Act

5. RA No. 11954 – Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023

6. RA No. 11939 – An Act Further Strengthening Professionalism and Promoting the Continuity of Policies and Modernization Initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Amending for the Purpose RA No. 11709

7. RA No. 11956 – An Act Further Amending RA No. 11213, Otherwise known as the “Tax Amnesty Act”, as amended by RA No. 11569, by Extending the Period of Availment of the Estate Tax Amnesty Until June 14, 2025, and for Other Purposes

8. RA No. 11959 – An Act Establishing Specialty Centers in Department of Health Hospitals in Every Region and in Government-Owned or Controlled Corporation Specialty Hospitals and Appropriating Funds Therefor

9. RA No. 11965 – Caregivers Welfare Act*

10. RA No. 11966 – Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code of the Philippines*

11. RA No. 11967 – Internet Transactions Act of 2023

12. RA No. 11975 – General Appropriations Act of 2024

(For laws authored under the 14th to 19th Congress, see full list on pages 10-12)