Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s
Message to the Filipino People on the 2017 Legislative Agenda
January 31, 2017

The thrust of this new administration is to bring about genuine and meaningful change. As an initial push, we, in Congress passed on time the 2017 Budget for Change.

In this budget, we shared the nation's blessings with all our countrymen in the form of free tuition in State Universities and Colleges, free irrigation for farmers, free health insurance coverage for all, and well distributed strategic infrastructure works, among others. Through this effort, we have made a bold step towards achieving the mantra of our new government - “the poorest first, the poor second.” But the budget is just the beginning; there is still so much work to be done.

Our country remains beset with problems that have not been solved for decades. After several Congresses, we still have to contend with the unequal development among regions, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the continued corruption in government, and the unending quest for peace in our country.

It’s time to put a stop to these problems. The Senate and the House of Representatives submitted acommon legislative agenda, consisting of 39 measures, to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council, or LEDAC. This council convened for the first time under the Duterte Administration to coordinate the efforts of the executive and legislative branches in promoting national growth.

This common legislative agenda reflects the essential elements of the Program of Government for Change that your majority senators have agreed upon. This is the Program that will, hopefully, lay the basis for the development and progress of our country and people:

1. We dedicate ourselves to the all-out search for Peace in our land;

2. We will move for the adoption of a Federal System of Government;

3. We support the all-out war against crime, drugs, and corruption;

4. We will reform our taxation system and make it more just and truly progressive;

5. We will strengthen the Rule of Law and make our justice system work;

6. We will reform the budget and declare a war on waste;

7. We call for sustainable and inclusive economic growth;

8. We will protect the environment;

9. We will deliver quality education and quality health care;

10. We will fight abuse and the abusive; and

11. We will focus on the needs and the situation of the helpless and impoverished members of Philippine society, especially the sick, the elderly, and the children, because they need the help of government more than the others. Through this program, the Senate affirms its full support for the legislative initiatives of the President to effect genuine and meaningful change, in order to liberate our countrymen from the clutches of poverty.

President Duterte and the members of the 17thCongress were elected because of Change. And the people who elected us to office expect us to deliver on the promise of Change. WE CANNOT FAIL THEM. We, in the Senate, are up to the challenge. WE WILL NOT FAIL THEM.

We will make our vision come true: a Philippine society which is JUST and FAIR, which SAVES and SHARES, which is SCIENTIFIC and OBJECTIVE, which is PEACEFUL and DEMOCRATIC, which is EDUCATED and HEALTHY, and which is, most of all, HAPPY and FREE, with overflowing LOVE OF GOD AND COUNTRY.

Maraming salamat po.