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House to concentrate on exercising plenary powers during remainder of session days

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By Ben Rosario

With no more priority legislative measures to craft and pass, the House of Representatives will spend the remainder of its session days carrying out its oversight functions, former president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has disclosed.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the opening of the Third Regular Session of Congress on Monday. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview, Arroyo said that congressmen will remain busy with legislative work, thus, may not be able to concentrate on preparing for their respective campaign operations.

The Lower House has barely a month of legislative work left when regular session resumes tomorrow. The election break will start February 9.

“We already finished the legislative agenda that President Duterte asked for in his SONA. So now we will spend more time on oversight to make, because there are laws and the laws are good,” Arroyo said.

Vital among the laws already passed by Congress is the implementation of the ease of doing business measure which help block the rise in inflation rate and keep it lower than the current level of 5.1 percent.

Arroyo said the laws passed by the chamber should be implemented swiftly.

“The more important thing is to make them for the ease of doing business because that’s the way to bring about prosperity, business, jobs,” said Arroyo, a leading economist in the country.

“Oversight will be a lot of the work,” she stressed.

According to her the Lower House is now awaiting Senate action on bills included in the Duterte list of priority legislation and passed by the Lower House.

Leading the committees that will concentrate on pursuing the oversight powers of the House is the newly-created 42-man Committee on Public Accounts, which partly takes over the functions of the Committee on Oversight that was abolished during the previous government administration.

Chaired by Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, the public accounts panel’s primary task, however, is to scrutinize and act on measures and legislative matters relating to the examination of audit reports on the performance of all government agencies.

Immediately after its creation, the House panel immediately called for the conduct of the Question Hour that placed Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno under intense plenary hall grilling over alleged questionable insertion of huge government funds for flood control projects in 2018.

“The reason why we want our oversight is going to be in regard to ease of doing business so there would be more production,” explained Arroyo.

She stressed that making the laws passed by congress work the way they are intended to will be one of the potent means of battling inflation.

“The policies are good, the important thing is for the implementation to be speedy,” she said.

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