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House finally says no to Filipino time

/ 04:09 PM May 20, 2017

“It’s about time!” exclaimed Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, as he announced the House of Representatives’ steps to curb the habit of “Filipino time” starting July 25.

Fariñas on Saturday said the House will soon shut out lawmakers who fail to show up at the plenary session at 4 p.m. sharp.

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Lawmakers agreed during their most recent caucus to begin the roll call at the scheduled time of the plenary session. Fariñas said the session hall’s doors will be locked while attendance is taken and will only be opened after the roll call.

“Anyone not responding to the call will be marked absent, except those attending committee hearings as authorized by the Rules Committee or the Majority Leader,” Fariñas said.

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“We’ve been wasting time waiting for members to trickle in for the Roll Call, to the prejudice of those who show up at 4 p.m.,” he added.

Fariñas said he expects complaints from representatives of far-off districts who fly to Manila on Monday mornings. “My reply: fly in Sunday night!” he said.

The rule is set to take effect on July 25, a day after the 17th Congress begins its second regular session when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second annual State of the Nation Address.

Attendance is taken for establishing a quorum to pursue official business and for voting purposes. Although the national anthem is usually sung on the dot, the session is typically suspended for up to 30 minutes or even an hour before the roll call is made and the quorum is mustered.

Fariñas said that to encourage punctuality, he is also thinking of moving the plenary session earlier to 3 p.m. or even holding it in the mornings at 10 a.m. before the committee hearings.

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TAGS: Congress, Filipino time, House of Representatives, punctuality, Rodolfo Fariñas
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