House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Friday said the positive results in the holding of the first out-of-town regular session of the House of Representatives in Batangas City last Wednesday could inspire the leadership to hold another one if circumstances required.
Romualdez, chairman of the House committee on rules, said the out-of-town session initiated by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano greatly helped them get closer to the victims of Taal Volcano’s eruption, as they were able to know their need for appropriate action by the chamber in finding permanent solutions to their problems.
“We are encouraged by the positive results, and so [Cayetano] may request another out-of-town regular session of Congress,” said Romualdez who acted as the floor leader during Wednesday’s unprecedented session at the Batangas City Convention Center attended by 204 lawmakers.
During the session, Romualdez said, “many of the representatives were able to engage directly with the locals here.
“We did not want to become a distraction but to be physically present and have personal knowledge of their individual needs, we are more in tune when we craft legislation and initiatives to help the evacuees,” Romualdez said.
As a result of the out-of-town session, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolutions 662 and 655, both seeking swift and permanent solutions to the problems of the Taal Volcano evacuees.
Cayetano said the regular session in Batangas City was carefully studied and many sectors were consulted, including the province’s officials.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu expressed gratitude to the House leadership for directly hearing their concerns.
Abu assured Batangueños that “the House will work very hard to expedite the passage of supplemental budget for the rehabilitation plan.”
The House is eying to pass a P50-billion supplemental budget for the areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Abu, along with several other House members, attended Wednesday’s session and personally gave their donations and contributions to the evacuees.
This developed as Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Michael Romero sought a P3-billion funding to finance the Phivolcs Modernization Act of 2019 to equip the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology with the latest state-of the-art instruments and equipment.
Romero filed House Bill 5763 that proposes a two-year implementation of the modernization program, which is expected to vastly improve PHIVOLCS’ capability for warning, assessing and monitoring devastating volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.
In filing the bill, Romero said the amount being proposed was insignificant if compared to the hundreds of lives and billions of properties that might be saved due to more accurate readings and better assessment of the dangers triggered by deadly volcanic and seismic activities.