Observing Escudero in the Senate as he addresses various issues

New Senate leadership welcomed by Makabayan bloc

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has expressed their support for the changes in the Senate’s leadership, promising to closely monitor the upper chamber’s handling of various issues.

Following the election of Senate President Francis Escudero, House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro stated in a press release on Monday that they are optimistic about the Senate taking a firm stance against Charter change (Cha-cha) and addressing issues like the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

Castro emphasized the bloc’s hope that the Senate will prioritize scrapping the problematic PUVMP and rejecting initiatives such as the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

In addition to these key issues, Castro highlighted the importance of discussing topics like wage increases for workers, improving transportation systems, and avoiding policies that only benefit a select few.

On the topic of the recent Senate leadership change, Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel raised concerns about the circumstances surrounding former Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s resignation, questioning whether it was related to aligning with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s legislative agenda.

Manuel urged the new Senate President, Chiz Escudero, to heed the youth’s call to oppose Charter change and mandatory ROTC, as well as to resist militarization efforts in the West Philippine Sea.

The House and Senate have been engaged in a love-hate relationship, culminating in the recent change in Senate leadership. The tensions between the two chambers escalated earlier in 2024 over charter change proposals, with disagreements on the mode and scope of constitutional amendments.

Despite the shakeup, there is optimism that the House and Senate can collaborate effectively under the leadership of Senate President Escudero to advance the legislative agenda of President Marcos’ administration. Former Senate President Zubiri was appreciated for his service, with hopes that the cooperation between the two chambers will strengthen moving forward.

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