House out-of-town regular session a success, could be done again in future

Published January 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ben Rosario

BATANGAS CITY – Encouraged by the positive results in the holding of its first out-of-town regular sessions in Taal-devastated Batangas, leaders of the House of Representatives will conduct similar activities in the future if circumstances require.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Alan Peter Cayetano / Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN)
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Alan Peter Cayetano / Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the regular session held for the first time in legislative history outside the halls of the Batasang Pambansa building said “just makes sense.”

The presence of 204 congressmen at the Batangas City Convention Center on Wednesday showed “unity in achieving a noble purpose” among lawmakers, Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero noted.

On the other hand, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said their presence in Batangas, the province that absorbed the most damaging devastation of the Taal volcanic activity last week, only indicates that there is nothing that can stop members of the 18th Congress from sincerely extending help to the victims of calamities.

“Yes, there’s always a risk when you’re pioneering it, first time nangyari ito, but kung alam ninyong tama (first time for this to happen, but when you know it is right) you just have to do it,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters here.

As a result of the unprecedented holding of regular session here, the Lower House adopted House Resolutions No. 662 and 655 pledging swift action on legislative measures that would increase government funding for rehabilitation efforts in Taal.

Lawmakers were also able to obtain firsthand the proposals, complaints, and views of at least 12 resource persons who were allowed to speak during the Committee of the Whole proceedings.

“So I’m happy we did it, because although pwedeng papuntahin ‘yung ibang speakers dun (some of the other speakers could have been asked to go there), ‘yung (this) symbolic gesture na ito shows them…the national government, regardless of political parties, regardless of ideology, regardless kung opposition or administration,” Cayetano said.

He added that the most important thing about coming to Batangas is for the people to “know we are here, and number two, for people to know that we are listening.”

There is nothing in the rules of the House of Representatives that bars its members from holding sessions in venues other than the Batasan session hall.

Most of the House members who attended the Batangas session took the opportunity to personally hand over their donations and contributions in kind for the victims of the Taal eruption.

Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu thanked Cayetano for the “opportunity to personally hand over” his assistance to local leaders of Batangas.