Speaker promises ‘Smart House’

February 7, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 294 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin Romualdez assured the public of “Smart House” to make more pro-people legislation.

Romualdez expressed optimism that the Lower Chamber can expect to work on “evidence-based, people-oriented” legislation very, very soon, following its partnership with premier academic institution Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) for a research collaboration project.

“Today is indeed an auspicious day at the House of Representatives. It has been our dream to bring about a smarter House of Representatives, one that is equipped with the means by which we can effectively pursue evidence-based and people-oriented legislation in a timely manner,” Romualdez said in a speech delivered during the ceremonial signing of the historic agreement.

“This morning’s signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the House and the Ateneo de Manila University for the Research Partnership Project is an important step in the realization of this dream,” he added.

The Memorandum of Agreement, to be known as the HRep-Ateneo de Manila Research Project, was signed by Secretary-General Reginald Velasco for the House of Representatives and Fr. Roberto C. Yap, president of ADMU and on behalf of the university’s Department of Economics and the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD).

The ceremony was held at the Romualdez Hall of the House of Representatives complex.

“This partnership could not come at a more opportune time. We are at a critical juncture in our life as a nation. While the state of national health emergency has passed, many of our people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and its byproducts on the economy.

The global economic prospects in the coming years are not all that bright either. These conditions make it imperative that the decisions we make in the here and now actually result in changes that lead to the intended improvement in the lives of many, if not all our people,” the Speaker added.

Because of these, the HRep-ADMU research partnership will focus on organizing 11 “Research Teams” that will conduct studies on sectors identified in the 8-Point Agenda of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

These are in the areas of agriculture and food security; infrastructure, transportation and energy security; health, education and social protection; employment; fiscal management; competition and entrepreneurship; research, development and the digital economy; environment, green and blue economy, and sustainable communities, and; peace, security, and public order and safety.

According to the MOA, the Research Teams “shall be headed by experts in the field, and they shall be called Congressional Research Fellows (CRFs).”

“The CRFs shall come from ADMU, and other universities or research institutions,” the MOA read.

The Research Teams shall also include representatives from the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), an office that is mandated to conduct policy and budget research to serve as informational foundation to legislation and oversight.

The ACERD is a center of excellence in the ADMU system dedicated to producing research that can serve as input to policy-making. It also coordinates with other institutions to promote exchange of knowledge and skills.

Given ADMU’s precept of “persons-for-and-with-others,” Romualdez is optimistic that this partnership will produce legislation that will sincerely benefit the Filipino people as the academic institution is known to promote service, justice and helping the poor.

“Ateneo can greatly help us in this regard not only by providing Congress with timely, credible, useful and policy-relevant technical information for legislation borne from rigorous research, but also by lending their esteemed voices in the discussion of proposed reforms with the end-in-view of educating our people on the need for these reforms,” he continued.

Romualdez particularly lauded the partnership’s goals, which is to produce legislation based on the 8-Point Agenda of the President.

He also thanked the “prime movers” behind this project: Congressman Elizaldy Co, Congresswoman Stella Quimbo, Congresswoman Yedda Marie Romualdez, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) led by Deputy Secretary General Dr. Romulo Emmanuel Miral Jr. and the Legal and Finance Departments of the House of Representatives.