Still more work even after passage of priority bills, RBH 7

House: Still a lot of work to do even after passage of priority bills, RBH 7

/ 06:39 PM March 19, 2024

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Rep. Janette Garin (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers have assured the public that they would continue working even if the administration’s priority bills and the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7 are passed on third reading, as the House of Representatives would then perform its oversight functions.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin and PBA party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles clarified that work does not end for the House even if all the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) priority-bills have been approved.


The oversight powers, Garin explained, is the mandate of the House to look into issues and ensure the effective implementation of the government’s budget.


READ: Romualdez: 100% Ledac-priority bills approval proof of House’s dedication to people

Oversight powers

“Well, the oversight powers of Congress is a very clear mandate, a mandate for us to look at the effectiveness of the country’s budget, if the laws we passed were effective. That’s why I would like to segue it also to our appreciation for the quick action of the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) to respond to the people’s different needs,” Garin said.

“There are many things that Congress must address. For the [DSWD], we know that the issue about the 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program] has been a discussed extensively,” she added.

Nograles meanwhile said it might be unfair to label the House’ work as finished when different committees are still discussing a lot of issues.

“Just to add to that, I think it’s a very unfair statement to say that we would no longer work. Our work does not end even if there were Ledac measures that we have tackled, there are still committee hearings on-going right now,” she noted.

READ: Solon hopes House, Senate can meet on Cha-cha during Holy Week break


Local bills

Lanao del Norte 1st District Rep. Khalid Dimaporo and Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Francisco Benitez meanwhile reminded the public that there are local bills which would also need attention from lawmakers.

“I think with the Ledac measures finally completed we can, here in the House, focus on local bills, because that is the utmost important to most of us here in the House of Representatives. It’s about the local needs of our constituents,” Dimaporo said.

“To be honest there are still three remaining Ledac measures that the lower House needs to finish deliberating on, but maybe we can also finish these, we are nearing the finish line at the committee level, at least on these set of issues,” Benitez added.

Both Dimaporo and Benitez also noted that the House should also discuss issues affecting the education sector, through the Second Congressional Commission on Education or Edcom 2.

Other tasks

“We also have other tasks. One of the tasks that I have been assigned to by the Speaker is in Edcom 2, so we will be digging deep into the problems of BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and the problems with education. Why do they have the poorest of the poor in terms of performance when it comes to education, statistics and indicators,” Dimaporo said.

“Our Chair (Pasig Rep.) Roman [Romulo] wants to set up a sub-committee to properly tackle these problems. So this is something that will be working on after the break,” he added.

Benitez said that with Edcom alone, lawmakers would have their hands full as a lot of problems have emerged from the discussions.

Problems emerging

“Because in the oversight alone, like in the Edcom, there are a lot of problems emerging that we have not generally captured in the normal year’s legislative process,” Benitez said.

“So, with Edcom, with all honesty, BARMM — as Congressman Khalid, commissioner of Edcom has also mentioned — is a major issue for us in terms of education, but also internationalization of higher education is another major issue,” he added.

On Monday, Deputy Speaker David Suarez said that while Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has not yet provided a policy about hearings being conducted during the Holy Week break, he will not be surprised if discussions continue due to the Speaker’s workaholic nature.

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Aside from committee hearings, Suarez said he hopes leaders of the House and the Senate can meet to discuss next steps regarding economic charter change.

TAGS: EDCOM II, House priority bills, Janet Garin, Jose Francisco Benitez, Khalid Dimaporo, LEDAC, Margarita Nograles, Martin Romualdez, RBH 7, Roman Romulo

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