The Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) has processed and produced hundreds of executive orders, presidential proclamations, memorandum circulars intended to maintain effective governance, and ensure robust public health and national security and peace.
In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that to date, the OES has processed a total of 156 executive orders, 1,257 presidential proclamations, 92 memorandum circulars, 44 administrative orders, and 58 memorandum orders.
Orders relating to health include the issuance of EO No. 26 (s. 2017), which prohibits smoking within enclosed, public places and public conveyances, and EO No. 104 (s. 2020) and EO No. 155 (s. 2021) aimed at improving healthcare access through drug retail prices regulation.
In 2020, faced with the monumental task of fighting COVID-19 pandemic, President Duterte implemented a nationwide COVID-19 strategy, which involves a widespread vaccination program, the strengthening of the Philippine healthcare system, and testing and contact tracing measures.
The government imposed the first enhanced community quarantine through EO 112 (s. 2020). To ensure the accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 tests and test kits, the President issued EO 118 (s. 2020), directing the Department of Health (DOH) in coordination with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to determine, formulate and implement a price range for COVID-19 test kits and testing administered by hospitals, laboratories and other health establishments.
As the government gears towards mass vaccination, the President issued EO No. 121 (s. 2020) granting authority to the director general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines upon proof of adequate data from well-known controlled trials.
Also, the President issued EO 154 (s. 2021) directing the establishment of the Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital and creating the Inter-Agency Committee on the OFW Hospital.
To ensure effective governance, President Duterte issued EO No. 2 (s. 2016), operationalizing the Freedom of Information Right, EO No. 77 (s. 2019), laying down the rules for government official and foreign travels of government personnel, and Administrative Order No. 23 (s. 2020), in conjunction with the Anti-Red Tape Act.
True to the “Tatak Duterte” seal of governance, the OES pushed the establishment of the 24-hour 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Hotline, allowing the public to report their grievances via calls, text messages and its website.
The OES also provided technical, legal assistance to the President in reviewing enrolled bills passed by Congress. From July 1, 2016 to March 2021, it processed, reviewed and recommended a total of 612 enrolled bills, which were eventually signed into law by President Duterte.
Among the priority legislations enacted into law during the 17th Congress were the University Access to Free Tertiary Education Act, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Philippine Identification System Act, Ease of Doing Business Act, the TRAIN Law, Expanded Maternity Leave Law, and the Universal Health Care Act.
During the 18th Congress, Congress passed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, Malasakit Center Act, and the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.
The OES also worked to ensure national security and peace. It assisted the President in preparing Proclamation No. 2016 (s. 2017) and the three extensions of martial law period in Mindanao in response to the attack by ISIS-backed militants in Marawi City. The OES also assisted the President in defending the issuances before Congress.
Regarding the peace talks between the government and the communist rebels, President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 (s. 2017), declaring the termination of peace negotiations with NDF-CPP-NPA.
It was followed by Proclamation No. 374 (s. 2017), which declared the CPP-NPA a designated identified terrorist organization under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
According to Medialdea, the administration is aware that the only way to lasting peace is for the state to recognize and address the root causes of all tensions and conflicts.
To this end, the President issued EO No. 70 (s. 2018), which institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace and created the National Task Force with the objective of ending local communist armed conflict.
The President likewise created Task Force Balik-Loob through the issuance of Administrative Order No. 10 (s. 2018) to centralize government efforts to reintegrate former rebels and address their economic and social, psychological needs.
With the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Anti-Terrorism Council is empowered to make designation on terrorist groups and organizations, with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) freezing the bank accounts of those designated as terror organizations. PND