MANILA – A leader of the House of Representatives on Tuesday gave President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. a grade of 8.41 out of 10 after one year into his presidency.

House ways and means committee chair Joey Salceda said Marcos generally had a “good start” to a presidency and has maintained credibility and political capital among a vast majority of people.

Salceda said the Philippine economy under Marcos saw strong growth as the country recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 7.6 percent in the third quarter of 2022, 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year, and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

He said the GDP per quarter under Marcos has consistently been above the historic average of 5.9 percent.

“Macroeconomic policies are largely conventional, and conservative approach is keeping confidence Philippines’ fundamentals strong,” he said.

He also noted that unemployment is at a “steady decline” since Marcos took office in June last year.

“There are 290,000 more jobs under the latest jobs report than when President Marcos took over in June 2022. More importantly, existing and new jobs are better-paying, as the March underemployment rate of 11.2 percent is the lowest it has been since April 2005,” he said.

He said inflation is likewise on a “downward momentum,” as the May inflation rate of 6.1 percent is the fourth consecutive month since January 2023 that inflation has declined.

He highlighted that rice farmers are getting paid more as indicated by a 10.6 percent increase in farmgate prices for palay per kilogram (kg) from PHP17.24 per kg in May 2022 to PHP19.06 per kg in May 2023.

“This indicates that farmers are getting a better deal for their produce. This is also the opposite of what was observed during the initial months of rice tariffication, when farmgate prices declined faster than retail prices did,” he said.

In terms of key legislative accomplishments, Salceda noted that two major pieces of legislation are up for the President’s signature, particularly the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund Act, the proposed Department of Health Specialty Centers Act.

Speaker Martin Romualdez, for his part, said the House has approved on third and final reading 33 out of 42 bills listed as priority measures of Marcos and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), which form part of the total 577 bills passed on final reading, including the PHP5.268-trillion 2023 national budget.

“Processes and systems can always be improved. I believe there are still better ways we can perform our mandate of legislation without sacrificing the quality of our work,” he said.

He said if the productivity of the House of Representatives during the first year of the 19th Congress is an indication, he is confident that the chamber can accomplish its goals for the rest of 2023.

“If members of the House of Representatives will work with the same passion and vigor they exhibited during the First Regular Session, I have no doubt that we can do better this time around,” he added.

During the first 10 months of the 19th Congress, the chamber has processed a total of 9,600 measures — 8,490 bills, 1,109 resolutions and one petition. This is an average of 30 measures for each session day. (PNA)