The House of Representatives has posted a historic 82 percent attendance record in the first two months of the 18th Congress.
According to the journals of proceedings posted on the House website, an average of 246 of the 300 House members answered the roll call in 20 session days from July 22 to September 23.
Based on the records, it was on July 22, or during the election of the Speaker, when the House posted the highest number of members present at 297.
Only three House members were absent during the first day of sessions when President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his Fourth State of the Nation Address.
The second-highest attendance of 268 lawmakers was recorded on July 23, followed by 266 on August 13, 259 on August 27, and 257 on July 31.
The lowest attendance recorded was on August 20, a Tuesday, when 185 House members answered the roll call.
It will be noted however that the day was sandwiched between holidays — August 19 which was a local holiday in Quezon City where the House is located, and August 21 which was Ninoy Aquino Day.
Lawmakers held sessions until the first week of October, but journals for the last few session days have yet to be shown on the House website.
Lawmakers attributed the unparalleled attendance record to the strong leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, who were both present in all sessions.
Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero said that under Cayetano’s instruction, House leaders, led by Romualdez, performed excellently in passing vital pieces of legislation to help President Rodrigo Duterte realize his vision of a better Philippines.
“The Speaker and all of us wanted to avoid the delay that we had this year in enacting the current national budget.”
“The Speaker and all of us wanted to avoid the delay that we had this year in enacting the current national budget. It really took its toll on the economy and our people. It slowed down economic growth,” Romero said.
For Ako Bisaya Party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon, the impressive attendance records also showed the dedication of House members to their legislative duties.
“Despite the spate of holidays, lawmakers chose to attend to their congressional work instead of going on an extended break. This is due to the strong and competent leadership for keeping the House of Representatives on track in achieving its legislative agenda and priorities,” Lagon said.
“This attendance record is unsurpassed, historic, and a testament to the determination and patriotism of the legislators.”
“This attendance record is unsurpassed, historic, and a testament to the determination and patriotism of the legislators, under the guidance of the present leadership,” the legislator said.
Meanwhile, Romualdez said House leaders have delivered the President’s legislative agenda after processing a total of 220 measures in 20 session days.
“These include the record-time third and final reading approval of the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget, as well as the approval of several tax reform measures to promote the country as a viable investment destination,” the chair of the House Committee on Rules said.
The Leyte lawmaker and Lakas-CMD leader said the trust and approval extended by Filipinos to Cayetano will definitely prompt all lawmakers to work harder in the legislative mill in the days to come.
In the September 2019 Ulat ng Bayan Survey of Pulse Asia, the House Speaker got an impressive 64 percent approval and 62 percent trust ratings.
“Through the sterling leadership of Cayetano, we assure the public that the House leadership would continue to perform better,” Romualdez said.