By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A leader of the House of Representatives has called on colleagues to make their legislation more evidence-based and “reflective to the realities of life”.
Davao City Rep. Alberto Ungab, vice chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, made the call as the House of Representatives recently forged a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) to synergize research and policymaking.
“This is a significant step in helping the legislative branch appreciate and consider evidence-based information in the legislation process. We certainly need to make our legislation to be more empirical and scientific. As legislators of this country we hope to give our people the highest form of service through legislation. And one way to demonstrate this is to make our legislation closer to the truth and make it reflective to the realities of life,” Ungab said.
The Lower Chamber recently held the “NRCP – Legislative Scientific Forum for Policy Development” to bridge scientific research and policy development.
It aims to deepen the understanding, relevance, and appreciation of congressional committee secretaries and staff in basic researches as bases for sound legislations.
Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Romulo Miral of the House Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) agreed with Ungab, citing the need for an evidence- and results-based legislative process.
“Kaya napakaimportante na ‘yong mga polisiya ay nababatay sa mga pag-aaral at sayantipikong ebidensiya o iyong tinatawag natin na evidence-based policymaking… [Importante din] iyong pagpapahalaga sa resulta o yung tinatawag na results-based. Kaya ito dapat ang pag-aralan natin, kung papaano na iyong ating ginagawa nababatay doon sa dapat maging resulta. Hindi doon sa intention lang,” he said.
“Kinakailangan talaga na magkaroon tayo ng saligan, ng batayan. Ang batayan na iyan ay ang tinatawag nating research,” Miral said.
House Legislative Operations Department (LOD) Bill Drafting Service Director Atty. Jose Noel Garong, for his part, said the partnership between the researchers and policymakers should be strengthened to come up with evidence-based legislation.
“Ang problema sa amin ay we are lawyers, but pagdating sa science ay hindi ganoon kataas ang aming awareness. So it is good that from time to time the legislative research sa CPBRD, they provide us with these materials and studies that we use in drafting measures,” he said.
The forum featured the funded research work of NRCP Regular Member and University of the Philippines-Los Baños researcher Dr. Nelly Aggangan on Greening Mined-out Areas in the Philippines.
During the forum, Aggangan said the soil that had become infertile and denuded because of heavy mining activity in Mogpog, Marinduque was made productive again through the use of microbial fertilizers.
The House-NRCP partnership is in line with efforts to effectively conduct and utilize research for development and to strengthen the role of science and basic research in creating meaningful governance through policymaking and legislation. This ensures that the investments of the government in research contribute to development that is consistent with the role of the State in promoting welfare, security, and budget accountability.