This article was originally published in the Breaking News section of INQUIRER.NET, 12/16/2010. It was written by Lira Dalangin-Fernandez.
MANILA, Philippines —A total of 43 lawmakers out of the 283-member House of Representatives got perfect attendance in the first 45 days of session, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said Thursday.
But the accomplishment report Belmonte presented to journalists did not contain those frequently skipping sessions. When asked about this, the House leader told the media to refer to the daily journals of the chamber.
For not missing a session, he said the 43 lawmakers, representing 15 percent of the total House membership, received a Parker ballpen as a token and that their names were announced in the chamber.
And for the frequent absentees, Belmonte said: “Let’s face it, you will be the one to do the honor roll for them. Our honor roll is for those who worked.”
Belmonte is among those who did not register an absence during the sessions.
Aside from Belmonte, the lawmakers who got perfect attendance were Representatives Pedro Acharon Jr. (South Cotabato), Romeo Acop (Antipolo City), Emmeline Aglipay (DIWA partylist), Rodolfo Albano Jr. (Isabela), Tomas Apacible (Batangas), Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo (Camarines Sur), Amado Bagatsing (Manila), Jorge John Banal (Quezon City), Elpidio Barzaga Jr., (Cavite), Leopoldo Bataoil (Pangasinan),
Imelda Calixto-Rubiano (Pasay City), Winston Castelo (Quezon City), Jane Castro (Capiz), Emrique Cojuangco (Tarlac), Maximo Dalog (Mountain Province), Raul Daza (Northern Samar), Rachel Del Mar (Cebu), Salvador Escudero III (Sorsogon), Ben Ebardone (Eastern Samar), Erico Basilio Fabian (Zamboanga City),
Rodolfo Farinas (Ilocos Norte), Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Norte), Albert Garcia (Bataan), Roilo Golez (Paranaque), Agapito Guanlao (Butil partylist), Nur Jaafar (Tawi-Tawi), David Kho (Senior Citizen partylist), Edcel Lagman (Albay), Eleandro Jesus Madrona (Romblon), Niel Montejo (AN Waray partylist), Florencio “Bem Noel (AN Waray).
Angelo Palmones (Agham partylist), Rene Relampagos (Bohol), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), Herminia Roman (Batanes), Jesus Sacdalan (North Cotabato), Raden Sakaluran (Sultan Kudarat), Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes), Mel Sarmiento (Western Samar), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina), Niel Tupas Jr. (Iloilo), and Jose Ma. Zubiri III (Bukidnon).
Belmonte also boasted of the House’s ratification of the “most important piece of legislation,” referring to the P1.645-trillion General Appropriations Bill for 2011.
The House ratified the budget bill Tuesday before it went on Christmas break. Congress will resume sessions on January 17.
Of the 4,697 bills and resolutions filed, 21 bills have been approved on third reading, including several measures of national significance such as the protection of students’ rights to enroll in review centers act; bill providing for a longer period for the rectification of simulated births; bill authorizing the court to require community service in lieu of imprisonment for light offenses; the act prescribing the code of national flag, anthem, motto, coat-of-arms and other heraldic items and devices of the Philippines; and the bill amending the Revised Penal Code to give the fullest benefit if preventive imprisonment.
A total of six bills have hurdled plenary debates and have passed second reading, including the bill institutionalizing kindergarten education into the basic education system.
As for the performance of the committees, Belmonte said the committee on transportation had the most number of hearings at 15, followed by the ways and means committee (12), and energy committee (11).
Belmonte also said that they have approved a rule that would expedite the hearings on bills that have reached plenary level in the last Congress.
The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council is expected to convene in January after Malacañang has finalized its list of priority measures, he also said.