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February 23, 2023 - Thursday 9:02 PM by Erwin Tulfo

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House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is a highly-respected lawyer and businessman who has exuded professionalism throughout his career.

Since he took the helm in the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin has unabashedly shown his determination in spearheading the realization of the legislative agenda of the Marcos Administration.

Under his watch, the Chamber has shown strong unity in forging the foundations of a sound economic recovery from over two years of devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with the leadership of President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. (PBBM), the Speaker himself has joined PBBM’s trips to our biggest ally-nations, generating P3.48 trillion in investment pledges.

Speaker Martin and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos also pushed for the passing of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), which the House approved in December.

He may seem to have too much to handle, but Speaker Martin recently came face to face with the pesky challenge of onion smuggling and price manipulation.

It was exposed during the House hearings that unscrupulous businessmen had been smuggling and hoarding onions from China, thereby causing “artificial shortages” and the increase in prices of onions on the market.

Apparently, Speaker Martin shared the anguish and frustration of Filipino consumers who find the prices of onions and other agricultural commodities increasingly unbearable.

The Speaker could no longer take the matter.

He reportedly summoned newly appointed Bureau of Customs (BoC) Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio and asked him to put an end to the consumers’ torment once and for all.

In no time, Commissioner Rubio led lightning raids of 24 warehouses where P150 million worth of onions were stored without proper Customs documentation. 

Speaker Martin said the House panel will not stop investigating this form of “economic sabotage” in aid of legislation. Unscrupulous businessmen and authorities who have been in cahoots with them will have to face the music.

It will not be a “tiktok” number, I guess, as I see the serious look on Speaker Martin’s face.  It's about time someone has to go to jail!

Speaker Martin is also keeping an eye on the House bill calling for a constitutional convention to make the amendments on the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, particularly the regulation on foreign ownership of certain entities.

In order to encourage more foreign investors and generate employment in the country, the obsolete provisions of the Charter have to be replaced and open the economy to more international investors.

Speaker Martin, a known constitutionalist, said this is also crucial to realizing the Maharlika Investment Fund or the Sovereign Investment Fund.

Incidentally, the House Speaker called on the nation’s lawyers to be “catalysts of change.”

Speaking before the members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on the occasion of IBP’s 50th founding anniversary, he urged his lawyer-colleagues to “seize every opportunity to be catalysts of change, leading the way to bringing a better, more efficient, timely and speedy dispensation of justice.”

Speaker Martin said “Let us rise to the challenge and continue building a fair and just Philippine society.”


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