Mike Defensor

House urged to allow more members to attend proceedings

November 4, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 136 views

LAWMAKERS on Thursday appealed to House leadership to allow more House members to attend plenary hall proceedings as Congress resumes its regular session starting this Monday following the declining cases of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) and calls to place the National Capital Region (NCR) at low risk for the virus.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, Deputy Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay and Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino backed the physical appearance of more congressmen for better participation in the legislative process.

Defensor, a Quezon City mayoralty aspirant, stressed that the minimum health protocol of maintaining social distancing and wearing of face-masks should always be strictly observed.

“Iyong antigen test before entering is also an effective mechanism to avoid COVID-19 positive individuals,” Defensor said, referring to the negative antigen result before a lawmaker and staff can enter the plenary hall in every session day.

Suntay said he is eyeing a forty percent face-to-face regular session while Tolentino proposed at least 50 percent of the 307 lawmakers “like the allowable capacity in churches.”

“Actually, a 100 percent personal presence can be accommodated with safety measures still being followed. We can use the gallery and restrict non-legislators from entering the hall,” Tolentino said.

“But as almost all if not all the members of the Lower House and the staffs are already fully vaccinated, I believe its about time that we allow more members to participate on floor deliberations in person,” Suntay for his part said.

“The most important work of legislators are done in the halls of Congress, while the members have not been remiss in their duties and have actively participated in our virtual sessions, it is my opinion that legislators would be able to express their intentions more and communicate better if they are physically present,” Suntay added.