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Congress-in-Training

Words by: Antonette Calsado

Photos by: Zion Yuson and Rhea Maliuanag

Lawmaking is no easy feat. In the Philippines, there are 292 elected persons from all over the archipelago each representing the Filipinos and their stances in Congress or the House of Representatives in the process of legislating laws for the country in service of the people who put them in the position.

Despite all the televised sessions, there are still certain ambiguities that people do not understand about Congress. Do all bills get amended and looked over thoroughly before they are passed? How sure are they that there are enough funds for the bill?

 Model House of Representatives held in the University of Asia and the Pacific on May 22 &23, 2017 showed the actual process of lawmaking. It is a simulation of the Congress wherein students from all over the Philippines are assigned a legislative district or party to represent. The 2nd Model House of Representatives was headed by the acting Speaker of the House, Patricia Torres, the representative of Davao del Norte.

Photo by Rhea Maliuanag

Photo by Rhea Maliuanag

Current Congressmen of the 17th Congress, Congressman Karlo Alexei Nograles, the representative of the 1st district of Davao City and Congressman Jose Enrique Garcia, the representative of the 2nd district of Bataan. gave speeches to help the delegates immerse themselves in the process of lawmaking. They were very thorough with explaining the  technicalities and processes to the students who joined the conference.

Photo by: Zion Yuson

Photo by: Zion Yuson

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

With more than 50 delegates in attendance, the students were divided into two committees: Good Government and Public Accountability and People Participation to discuss bills within their scope. Each committee had different bills to tackle and pass or fail which they discussed on the first day and presented on the second day during the plenary session. There were three bills passed in the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability while one bill was passed in the Committee on People Participation. The bills passed by CGGPA include: a bill on voter’s education and literacy, a bill on a unified electronic accountability system, and a bill on the protection of marine protected areas (MPAs) specifically Palawan. The bill passed by CPP was a bill on incentives to students taking agriculture courses.  All the bills passed in the committees were also passed in the plenary sessions after some amendments by fellow delegates.

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

At the end of the activity, some people were acknowledged for their prowess in legislation and speech. Marius Reonico, a 4th year student of BS Information Technology in UA&P, KABATAAN partylist representative was given an honorable mention. Another was Therese Lachaona, Dinagat Islands representative was named Outstanding Delegate from De La Salle Zobel. She was the youngest delegate in the conference, at only 12 years old. Luis Claudio, Palawan representative from De La Salle University taking up Marketing was also given recognition for his bill on the preservation of Palawan and other marine protected areas in the Philippines. These students voiced their concerns and suggestions to other representatives to make the bills more apt for the Filipinos considering all aspects.

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

Photo by: Rhea Maliuanag

See more photos in the gallery. http://bosun.uap.asia/gallery/2nd-uap-model-house-representatives/