Pandemic no hindrance to ‘more productive’ Congress

Pandemic no hindrance to ‘more productive’ Congress

MANILA – The House of Representatives in the 18th Congress had more production than the previous one in terms of total measures approved and bills processed even amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said on Thursday.

During the Abogadong Dabawenyo Kapihan via Zoom, Romualdez cited records that showed the First Regular Session in the 18th Congress was 34 percent more productive with 388 as against the 290 approved measures in the previous Congress.

The total measures processed for the same period was also higher by 31 percent at 1,633 compared with 1,247 in the 17th Congress.

The Second Session is suspended until May 16.

Romualdez of Leyte’s First District credited teamwork, aided by efficient and professional members of the secretariat, for their performance.

“The success of Congress is teamwork. Success was due in large part to good work with the Speaker, Secretary General and our colleagues. It’s my role to keep close contacts with 300 lawmakers,” he said.

“We are very lucky to have a very professional and efficient secretariat. We have great people there that help us not only to make us look good, but also to make us feel good.”

In February, a technical working group virtual meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) for its Common Legislative Agenda agreed to pass by June some priority bills, including the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Act, Package 3 of Comprehensive Tax Reform Package or the Valuation Reform Act, and Package 4 of CTRP or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act.

“These bills are crucial in ensuring the country’s economic recovery and in regaining our development trajectory that was held back by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue working with Congress to move the legislative agenda,” Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and LEDAC Secretariat head Karl Kendrick Chua said in a previous statement.

Romualdez said the House leadership took advantage of technological advancement when it permitted the use of Zoom, electronic mail, text, and Viber during regular sessions, committee hearings and meetings to continue performing their mandate of passing various bills into law, like Bayanihan 1 and 2 and the 2021 national budget.

“Because of Covid-19 pandemic, we use various social media platforms to help us continue working and expedite the process of getting a quorum during session and participation of our colleagues in the budget deliberations from the comfort of their homes and offices. We get things done despite distance and absence of physical appearance,” he said. (PNA)

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