Press Release
November 24, 2008

Satisfaction ratings still highest in latest survey
Villar grateful for the chance to lead a hard-working Senate

Senator Manny Villar said he is grateful to his colleagues in the Senate for giving him the opportunity to serve as president of the Upper Chamber for two and a half years, adding the position helped him pursue the agenda of poverty alleviation in the country.

"It was my honor to lead this Chamber, which succeeded in achieving greater heights in crafting pieces of legislation specifically designed to address the needs of our people. It was also an independent Senate that proved to be relentless in assuming its function to provide a system of check and balance in this government," Villar said.

Villar made this statement after emerging anew as the government official with the highest public satisfaction ratings in the latest survey of pollster Social Weather Stations conducted September 24 to 27, prior to his resignation from the Senate's top post.

The Third Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey found 61% satisfied and 17% dissatisfied with the performance of Senate President Villar, 58% satisfied and 24% dissatisfied with Vice-President Noli De Castro, 29% satisfied and 33% dissatisfied with Chief Justice Reynato Puno, and 24% satisfied and 36% dissatisfied with Speaker Prospero Nograles.

The survey also shows the Senate as the top government institution with 46% satisfaction rating followed by the Supreme Court, 39%, the House of Representatives, 38% and the Cabinet at 31%. "The people's continued trust and confidence on the Senate is confirmed by survey results that consistently show the Senate as the most trusted institution. Kahit wala na ang titulong Senate president, makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan na patuloy nating pag-iibayuhin ang paglilingkod sa publiko at pagsusulong sa ating programa para sa maliliit na negosyante at nagigipit na OFWs," Villar added.

Under Villar's watch as Senate president from July 2006 to November 2008, the Senate passed on third reading 390 bills, which focus on social justice and poverty alleviation, improvement of the justice system, entrepreneurial development, agricultural competitiveness, health promotion, environmental protection and local empowerment.

Among the notable bills passed and signed into law during the Villar presidency of the Senate are: the Magna Carta for Small and Medium Enterprises, the law extending the use of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, the University of the Philippines Charter Act, the law establishing the Personal Equity and Retirement Account and the law granting tax exemptions to minimum wage earners.

"Under my leadership, the Senate made a mark as a multi-tasking institution. Never neglecting our function to legislate, we also took the lead in ferreting out the truth behind controversies hounding the nation," Villar, who is also president of the Nacionalista Party, said.

He added that the Senate investigated the $329 million ZTE-National Broadband Network deal, resumed the investigation on the P728 million Fertilizer Fund scam and conducted inquiries on the so-called Euro-Generals controversy.

"It was also during this time when senators channeled their energies to defend before the Supreme Court the powers and rights of the Senate as enshrined in the Constitution in the face of threats to undermine the Senate," Villar said.

Led by Villar, the Senate defended in the High Court the extent of the power of the Upper Chamber to summon resource persons in its legislative inquiries and the coverage of the executive privilege. "The Senate, under our watch, remained a formidable force against charter change," Villar said, adding he is hopeful the new leadership will see no need to rush charter change before 2010 to dispel suspicion that it will only be used to extend term limits.

From July 2006 to November 2008, the Senate also passed on third reading the Renewable Energy (RE) bill that is expected to trigger the development of the country's alternative energy resources; the bill updating the Fire Code of the Philippines; measure providing for fixed three-year term for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff; a bill demilitarizing the Department of National Defense and prohibiting a military officer from being appointed defense chief within a three-year period after his retirement from the service; a bill establishing a low-cost housing loan restructuring program; and a bill strengthening the Cooperative Code.

Villar also said the approval of bills creating new regional and municipal trial courts in areas like the National Capital Region, South Cotabato and Koronadal would strengthen the judicial system in the local level and improve the delivery of justice in the countryside.

The Senate passed on third reading the proposed New Compensation Act for Teachers, a bill providing for additional support and compensation for educators in basic education. The bill, if passed, will benefit more than 50,000 teachers and non-teaching personnel in all public schools in the country, who will receive a P9,000 increase in their basic pay, he said.

The Senate also approved the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act of 2008, the New Firearms and Ammunition Act, the bill granting the right of reply, the act providing for research on postpartum syndrome, bill establishing livelihood and skills training centers in 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities, bill providing additional benefits and protection to house helpers, bill providing free legal assistance to poor litigants, bill providing compensation to victims of human rights violations and adopted the joint resolution providing for severance incentive to employees of the legislative branch.

News Latest News Feed