MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday resumed its session with strict physical distancing and health protocols in place amid the ongoing enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
With Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano presiding over the session, only 25 lawmakers were allowed to be physically present inside the session hall while the rest of the House members joined through videoconferencing.
A quorum was declared with a total of 301 lawmakers present.
In his opening remarks, Cayetano told his fellow lawmakers to “lead by example” especially during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis as they find and provide solutions to the health emergency situation and its socio-economic consequences.
“In these extraordinary times, people look to Congress not just so that they can be represented, but that we may provide answers and or provide solutions. We are called upon to adapt, innovate, and manage,” Cayetano said.
“Aim, adapt, innovate, and manage. That’s why we call upon members of Congress, it’s time for us more than ever to lead by example,” he added.
He also called on the whole government to work together in fighting against red tape, inefficiency, and corruption in the face of the crisis.
“We call on the whole government to work together, not against each other… we have to agree that red tape, inefficiency, and corruption has no place in serving our people, whether or not there is a crisis,” he added.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez moved to allow lawmakers to participate in legislative sessions and committee hearings through the use of online means. Both motions were approved.
Aside from physical distancing protocols, the House will also implement a “no-face mask, no-entry policy,” and only guests with confirmed appointments will be allowed entry.
Guests will be required to submit an accomplished health declaration form to inform the chamber of their health status before being allowed to enter its premises. (ia/PNA)