House aims to OK bills creating 3 new departments by March

Mara Cepeda
House aims to OK bills creating 3 new departments by March

Darren Langit

Lawmakers want to create new government departments focused on overseas Filipino workers, water resources, and disaster resilience

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is pushing to approve by March the bills that would create 3 new government agencies: the Departments of Fili­pinos Overseas and Foreign Employ­ment (DFO); Water Resources and Services (DWR); and Disaster Resilience (DDR).

On Sunday, January 19, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said that the lower chamber will be prioritizing the 3 measures once the 18th Congress reopens session on Monday, January 20. 

“We aim to hit the ground running when session resumes on Monday. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures. The Speaker made a clear instruction to pass these bills,” Romualdez said in a statement. 

President Rodrigo Duterte himself previously called on Congress to pass the bills creating the DFO, DWR, and DDR during his 4th State of the Nation Address in July 2019. 

All 3 bills have already hurdled the committee level in November last year.

The DWR was approved by the House committees on government reorganization as well as public works and highways on November 12, while the DDR was passed by the House committees on government reorganization and disaster management on November 20. The DFO was approved by the House committees on government reorganization and overseas welfare affairs on November 26.  

The 3 measures will now have to go through their respective 2nd and 3rd readings before successfully hurdling the House. The bills will have to go through another 3 readings in the Senate before they can be sent to Malacañang for Duterte’s signature. 

On Sunday, Romualdez said that the House processed a total of 900 measures or an average of 28 measures per day during the 32 session days in 2019. (READ: Cayetano’s charm offensive in House shields him from SEA Games backlash)

“We are committed and inspired to work harder, smarter, and more efficiently this year,” said Romualdez, who is also Leyte 1st District congressman. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.