Villanueva: RCEP ratification, other feats fruits of Senate President’s leadership

SENATE Majority Leader Joel Villanueva lauded the leadership of the chamber for its accomplishments in its first eight months since the beginning of the first regular session of the 19th Congress.


“We are grateful to Senate President Migz Zubiri for showing sterling leadership that steered the Senate into greater heights,” Villanueva said.


Adding to the Senate’s latest accomplishments was its concurrence to the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a major free trade agreement, seen to boost investments in the Philippines and aid its economic recovery. 


“Concurrence to the RCEP is a major hurdle because we need two-thirds vote of all senators.  Its ratification demonstrated the Senate’s solid voice to push for initiatives that will give the Filipinos and the economy opportunities to thrive,” Villanueva said.


Senate President Zubiri co-sponsored and defended the RCEP ratification after going around the country consulting with stakeholders.* The resolution was adopted last February 22 with 20 Senators voting in the affirmative to the concurrence. To recall, the 18th Senate was not able to adopt the resolution before its adjournment sine die.


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and Department of Trade and Industry hailed the Senate’s concurrence, saying it will strengthen the Philippines’ position as an investment hub in the region.


Last year, the current Congress passed the landmark Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration bill that was signed into law in October 2022. It also completed thorough deliberations of the 2023 General Appropriations Act yet ensuring its timely passage.


Villanueva said the Senate remains laser-focused on the passage of priority measures including the National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) and the proposed Salt Industry Development and Revitalization Act which he both authored. The upper chamber is also expected to pass the Condonation of Agrarian Reform Debt bill next week.  


“Our Senate President is known to be a consensus-builder that is why we were able to accomplish a lot since he was elected into the position. We can also see that the employees in the Senate are satisfied and confident with his leadership,” Villanueva said.


Villanueva noted that Zubiri’s leadership style helped keep a harmonious relationship between Senators despite having different views. 


”I’m a living witness how SP Zubiri works tirelessly day and night so that the Senate will continue to pass legislation that will empower and improve the quality of life of our people, especially the disadvantaged sectors. He’s truly a trabahador ng Senado,” Villanueva ended.