What were the bright minds of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) doing at the Speaker Martin Romualdez-led House of Representatives on Tuesday, Feb. 7?
They were the esteemed guests of the lower chamber, which formalized with them a research collaboration project aimed at broadening studies on President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s "8-Point Agenda".
“Today is indeed an auspicious day at the House of Representatives. It has been our dream to bring about a smarter House of Representatives, one that is equipped with the means by which we can effectively pursue evidence-based and people-oriented legislation in a timely manner,” Romualdez said in his speech during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the HRep-Ateneo de Manila Research Project.
It is through this partnership that Romualdez--arguably Marcos’ must trusted ally in the entire bureaucracy--expects to work on “evidence-based, people-oriented” legislation "very, very soon".
"We need all the help we can get if we are to realize the ambitious goal of our beloved President to lower the poverty rate to a single digit over the next five years,” the House leader noted.
Romualdez said the House's partnership with ADMU "could not come at a more opportune time".
"We are at a critical juncture in our life as a nation. While the state of national health emergency has passed, many of our people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and its byproducts on the economy. The global economic prospects in the coming years are not all that bright either," he said.
The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) president said such conditions "make it imperative that the decisions we make in the here and now actually result in changes that lead to the intended improvement in the lives of many, if not all our people".
Under the agreement, the research partnership will focus on organizing 11 “research teams” that will conduct studies on sectors identified in the 8-Point Agenda of the Chief Executive.
These are in the areas of agriculture and food security; infrastructure, transportation and energy security; health, education and social protection; employment; fiscal management; competition and entrepreneurship; research, development and the digital economy; environment, green and blue economy, and sustainable communities, and; peace, security, and public order and safety.
According to the MOA, the research teams “shall be headed by experts in the field, and they shall be called Congressional Research Fellows (CRFs)".
“The CRFs shall come from ADMU, and other universities or research institutions,” the MOA read.
The research teams shall also include representatives from the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), an office that is mandated to conduct policy and budget research to serve as informational foundation to legislation and oversight.
The ACERD is a center of excellence in the ADMU system dedicated to producing research that can serve as input to policy-making. It also coordinates with other institutions to promote exchange of knowledge and skills.