LEGAZPI CITY – Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has vowed to focus his third term in Congress on promoting further the competitiveness of his district and province, and on national “‘legislative imperatives’ primarily fiscal consolidation reforms, agricultural revolution, and social services administration.”
Salceda, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee of the outgoing congress, ran uncontested for his third and last term in the May 9 elections. He said he owes it to his people’s support to push for the fruition of his ‘Quantum Leap to the Future’ platform, “with the unceasing restlessness that I have persistently invested in public service.”
A noted economist, Salceda had been an adviser to past Philippine Presidents and was the best and highest paid analyst in Asia before he entered politics in 1998. He has authored crucial national legislations aimed to deliver significant reforms for the country, foremost and most recent of them are the Amendment to the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
“As the new term beckons, we will transform Albay’s capital district into one of the country’s most dynamic metropolises. We will cement this district’s role as the Queen City of the Pacific Coast. We will be obsessed by opportunities. Our district’s success will be the success of this province, this region, and the country,” he said in his proclamation speech on Tuesday.
Salceda said he will focus his efforts “to further enhance the competitiveness of our place and our people, through the following programs: 1) establishment of the Philippine Science High School Daraga Campus; 2) uplifting the Camalig National High School into a center for special programs in sciences;
“3) budgetary support to the newly created Bicol University College of Dental Medicine, and; 4) operationalization of the new Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) as the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center.”
The conversion of the BRTTH into a general and subspecialty hospital with 800-bed capacity, that is now dubbed as the ‘PGH of the South,’ was made possible by RA 11719, which was authored by Salceda himself, and signed recently by President Duterte.
The BRTTH conversion was among the most significant accomplishments of Salceda in his second term for his district. The two others were: the completion of the Bicol International Airport or BIA, located in Daraga town, as ‘Bicolandia’s gateway to the world and the world’s gateway to Bicolandia,’ and the highly acclaimed COVID-19 response and risk management efforts of the 2nd District of Albay, which made it one of the most pandemic-resilient places in the country.
Salceda also vowed to push through with national legislative imperatives, among them: 1) Fiscal consolidation reforms—consumptive taxes on gambling; 2) the 2nd Agricultural Revolution including land consolidation, condonation of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries loans, double budget for agriculture from R/D to crop insurance to enterprise development and farm-to-market-value infrastructures;
3) Social service administration – creation of the Center for Disease Control, the Department of Disaster Resilience, the Department of Water, 5) Social welfare Reform – PhilHealth restructuring, strengthening of HMDF as Central Provident Fund (Singapore model); 6) Comprehensive Education Reform Agenda;
7) Government Services modernization – ease of paying taxes, ease of procurement, ease of delivering social benefits; 8) Energy reforms—power rate equalization, nuclear energy regulation and generation; 9) Skills development –TESDA higher order skills, Meister Schools, and 21st Century Skills Act.
To boost the competitiveness of the Albay 2nd District, Salceda lists additional programs including coordination with the DOTr/CAAP to start international flights in the BIA within one year; build-up of connectivity in areas around the BIA and the train stations, principally the four suburban quadrants of Daraga town; and International Road System linking the airport-train nucleus to AH26, to the seaports and to the urban centers;
Coordinate with PNR for the use of the old rail lines for a tramway system which would both ease up traffic and become a tourist attraction; transformation of the old airport into a Central Business Hub for Albay; bridges linking Rapu-rapu island town to mainland; and complete the undeveloped links in the Mayon Southeast Quadrant.