HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday honored the legacy and wonderful life of the late Cebu City 1st District Rep. Raul Veloso Del Mar.
Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Rules and a close friend of Del Mar, remembered del Mar as a lawmaker who never missed a day of work at the House of Representatives.
“We are gathered today (Thursday) to honor the legacy of a great man, one who exemplifies the best in public service. A legislator par excellance. The quintessential congressman,” Romualdez said in a statement as past and present House members led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, friends and longtime staff of the House of Representatives paid tribute to Del Mar during late Thursday afternoon’s memorial service at the Batasang Pambansa.
“Cong. Raul, as we fondly called him, was not only admired and respected for his perfect attendance in the House of the Representatives. He belonged to that rare breed of statesmen in Philippine Congress who masterfully balanced their work as legislator and district representative,” Romualdez said in honoring the life and works of Del Mar recalling that the late congressman was also known as a champion of press freedom and the welfare of journalists being the author of the “Expanded Sotto Law” or the Press Freedom Law.
“I have to admit, Representative Raul Del Mar was the kind of public servant that your Majority Leader aspire to be. He had set the bar so high for an elected Member of the House of Representatives. Never missing a session throughout his 27 years of service as legislator. One who was first to arrive in plenary and the last to leave after adjournment,” Romualdez stressed.
As a House Member for an unprecedented nine terms, Romualdez said Del Mar “occupied almost all positions that matter in this chamber.”
Romualdez said Del Mar was a former Deputy Speaker, head of the House contingent to the powerful Commission on Appointments, Assistant Majority Leader, chairperson of the Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy, vice chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations, and member of various standing committees.
As legislator, Romualdez said Del Mar authored and helped steer the enactment into law of more than a hundred legislative measures that left a great impact on the lives of the Filipinos.
These laws, according to Romualdez, include the “Magna Carta of the Poor”; “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act”; “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”; “The Tourism Act of 2009”; the “Renewable Energy Act of 2008”; “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003”; “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”; Republic Act No. 9439, otherwise known as “An Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Nonpayment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses”; and Republic Act No. 8344, otherwise known as “An Act Penalizing the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency or Serious Cases”.
As a district representative, Romualdez said Del Mar made his primary mission to craft laws that will not only benefit his direct constituents but also the other residents of Cebu.
Romualdez said Del Mar’s accomplishments as a lawmaker had earned him the monicker “Cebu’s Father of Legislative Infrastructure,” being the prime-mover of legislative measures that spurred Cebu’s growth as an economic giant among the regions.
The measures include Republic Act (RA) No. 7621, also known as the “Charter of the Cebu Port Authority”; and Republic Act No. 6958, otherwise known as the “Charter of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority.”
“With Cong. Raul’s passing, the halls of this chamber will miss the imposing presence of a great House Member. We all lost a guiding light, a brilliant adviser, and a friend,” Romualdez said.
“But Cong. Raul’s memories will forever remain etched in our minds and in our hearts. The legacy of his work ethic will inspire us to pour in more hours of legislative work and attend to our duties more diligently. Farewell, my friend. May you continue to guide us as we toil to build a better future for our people. And thank you, for a job well done,” said Romualdez.
Del Mar died on November 16. He was 79.