Tackle Yolanda rehab bills during break

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Published : Monday, June 16, 2014 00:00

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HOUSE independent minority bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez yesterday strongly urged Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. to tackle pending measures on the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Yolanda-stricken areas during the congressional break.

“We appeal to Speaker Belmonte to tackle and approve pending bills for the rebuilding of Yolanda-hit areas during our break to help uplift the living conditions of the typhoon survivors,” Romualdez stressed.

The House leadership allowed committees to continue with their hearings during the break after the 16th Congress adjourned sine die its first regular session last week. The second regular session will resume on July 28, the day when President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Romualdez expressed disappointment over the failure of the House of Representatives to discuss the proposed laws on rehabilitation of Yolanda-struck areas, including their House Bill (HB) No. 3486 which seeks to create the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DDPEM) to adequately address different natural and man-made calamities.

The proposal would replace the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) aimed at effectively and exclusively handling all calamity-related operations following the long-term devastation of Yolanda.

Belmonte assured that the House of Representatives is doing everything to address the concerns of Yolanda survivors as he defended their decision to continue the committee meetings during the break.

“The House is doing its legislative share to help Yolanda survivors like the approval of P14.6-billion supplemental budget for the relief operations in areas hit by Yolanda. It’s a usual practice (hearings during congressional break) in case of the need so that the House could still conduct limited but important activity,” Belmonte stressed.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II and Ilocos Sur Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said the conduct of congressional inquiries while on recess is part of the legislative tradition.

“We adopted a motion during the last day of sine die adjournment last June 11 so that we can allow our colleagues to still perform their duties and responsibilities,” said Gonzales.

Fariñas, a House majority leader for the Commission on Appointments (CA), said congressional hearings during the break “is part of the tradition so that we can still conduct hearings and investigations, especially if it pertains to matters of national importance.”Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

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