Senators will ‘stand as vanguards’ in war vs. COVID-19, says Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — As the Senate resumed its session on Monday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III vowed that senators would “stand as vanguards” during the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the country.
“Today, I give my solemn pledge that the Senate will fight for and in behalf of the Filipino people…The more our nation reflects this reality, the more earnest government must be in protecting each and everyone in our community,” Sotto said in his speech during the opening of the second regular session of the 18th Congress.
The session opened with 17 senators physically present while six others participated virtually.
“The Senate is aware of its bounden duty in these times. As representatives of the people, it behooves upon your senators to stand as vanguards in this national health crisis. More than ever, we are determined to give voice to your needs,” he added.
According to Sotto, legislative measures seeking to make the COVID-19 situation “better for every Filipino” will be filed by senators as the country continues to battle the pandemic.
To date, the Philippines has recorded over 82,000 COVID-19 cases. Of the number, 26,446 have so far recovered while 1,945 have succumbed to the respiratory disease.
“The travails brought about by the COVID pandemic applies to us all. Since we are all affected, therefore, the resolution to the problem must reside in each and everyone of us. In this moment of crisis, our survival depends on how strong we fight this crisis together,” Sotto went on.
“As long as we share the burden of the COVID19 pandemic with other countries of the world, we must continue to work towards saving lives and easing our common anxiety,” he added.
The Senate’s second regular session of the 18th Congress will focus on issues that would “upgrade and improve the digital highway in support of various communication and online transactional needs,” the Senate president said.
The Senate is also ready to craft laws that would also support distance learning as the threat of the coronavirus restricted schools to conduct physical classes, according to Sotto.
“As we stay isolated, we must not neglect a generation of young people who would otherwise be deprived of advancing in their studies. We must support programs that will help the education sector migrate to more plausible learning platforms,” he said.
He added that the chamber would also address the lack of public transport system.
“In order to help revive our economy, it is imperative to have a safe, efficient, and dependable public transport system that will ferry workers so that industries may again produce goods and services; and people can resume earning incomes to spend,” Sotto said.
For the business sector, he said the government could help entrepreneurs “find their place in the emerging business landscape by reassessing tariffs so as to ease business burdens where appropriate, as well as providing the means for new ventures to flourish.”
The senator further underscored the need to prioritize assistance for artists and writers.
“Great civilizations before us endured not only because they had material wealth, but because they lived a life nurtured by writers and artists,” he added.
In ending his speech, Sotto paid tribute to the country’s COVID-19 frontliners.
“I would like to reiterate the Senate’s appreciation to our medical and other allied frontliners who have from the beginning and up to now held the line,” he said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.