Statement of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, in connection with the closing of the first regular sixty-day session of the National Assembly, February 2, 1944:

The close of the first regular 60-day session of the National Assembly marks a historic milestone in the record of that body as our first sovereign legislature under the Republic. For the first time in our history since 1899 it deliberated on public questions and approved measures without having to submit them to any foreign authority.

The session has been most fruitful in the way of giving concrete expression to my recommendations in meeting the urgent and emergency problems of the nation, such as extending immediate aid to the victims of war, accelerating reconstruction and the restoration of peace and order, establishing new standards of loyal and efficient public service, instituting a more simplified and streamlined government machinery to make that service effective, and laying the foundations of a new nation worthy of our rediscovered Oriental and Filipino heritage. The new revenue measures are an appropriate response to the present acute fiscal needs of our government.

Speaker [Benigno] Aquino, in directing the work of the Assembly, has demonstrated vision, enterprise, and competent generalship, tackling primary problems first and inspiring every member to do his utmost to expedite the consideration of important measures. The members themselves have shown exceptional industry and devotion to the public weal, sparing no pains to do their part in the study and preparation of measures best designed to fulfill the program of the President in its initiatory stages.

The Assembly has passed a total of 60 bills. Judging from its achievements to date, it is to be expected that the future sessions of the Assembly will be even more fruitful and effective in giving concrete evidence of the leadership, loyalty, and patriotism of Speaker Aquino and his colleagues. When the members of the National Assembly rejoin their respective constituencies, they will be in a better position to give fresh impulse and creative direction to the vast project of nation-building. They have acquired and developed the necessary perspective born of an epoch the complexity of whose problems constitutes the very assure of their opportunities.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library