Cayetano tells Robredo: ‘Hindi natutulog sa pansitan ang Kongreso’
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano hit Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday over the latter’s criticism of Congress’ prioritization of topics being tackled as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
In his speech before the summation of discussion on ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise, Cayetano said the members of the House of Representatives have also tackled various bills concerning the pandemic while debates on the issues lodged against the network are happening.
“Nung hindi namin tine-take up ang ABS-CBN, sabi ng pangalawang pangulo, i-take up niyo agad. Ngayong tine-take up natin, marami daw mas importante,” Cayetano said.
(When we were not taking up the ABS-CBN franchise, the Vice President said we should take it up. Now that we are taking it up, she said there are many more critical issues that should be addressed.)
Cayetano then listed several bills that the lower chamber approved before it adjourned sine die in June which includes the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE Philippines Act); the COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020; the Better Normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020; and the COVID-19-Related Anti-Discrimination Act.
He also said that the House is conducting hearings on several pressing issues such as Meralco’s billing of our electricity consumption, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) implementation of the national government’s social amelioration program, and the repatriation efforts for the stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) amid the pandemic.
“Hindi po natutulog sa pansitan ang Kongreso (We are not sleeping on it in Congress). I say this for the benefit of our Vice President who, despite appearing to be clueless to the real work of this Congress, nonetheless feels it’s her duty to instruct this House on how it should conduct its business,” Cayetano said.
“Ginagawa po namin ang trabaho namin, hindi lang po nali-live sa TV lahat ng aming hearings (We are doing our jobs, the hearings are just not being broadcast live on television),” he added.
Cayetano said that he had directed the House’s Press and Public Affairs Bureau to provide the Office of Vice President Robredo “with the pertinent bills for her future press statements.”
In an interview, Robredo said that providing benefits for frontliners should be given priority as she mentioned that Congress should tackle these kinds of matters.
“So sana, halimbawa sa Congress, sana imbes na pinag-uusapan iyong mga bagay na hindi naman nakakatulong, sana ito na iyong ginagawa, ‘di ba?” Robredo said.
(For example, in Congress, hopefully, instead of talking about topics that are not helping, I hope they are tackling these things, right?)
“Kapag narinig ng frontliners natin na iyong Congress natin ang pinag-uusapan ay better benefits for them, better benefits for them, ang gustong sabihin appreciated iyong sacrifices na ginagawa today,” the Vice President added.
(If our frontliners hear that Congress is talking about providing better benefits for them, then that will say that their sacrifices are appreciated.)
Robredo has also previously hit the government’s “lack of sense of urgency” in responding to a pandemic, recalling the government’s dilly-dallying in canceling flights from China after the country recorded its first cases at the end of January this year.
As of July 8, there are 50,359 COVID-19 cases in the country, with recoveries at 12,588 and death toll at 1,314. [ac]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.