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Live House hearings eyed

A MEMBER of the House Independent Bloc expressed hope on Friday that the measure allowing the live broadcasting of all House proceedings over the state-owned People’s Television Network Inc. will soon get enacted into law.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, author of House Bill 4049, urged the House leadership to prioritize the passage of his measure that will allow a live broadcast of sessions and committee hearings of the Senate and House of Representatives to promote transparency in the proceedings.

“[The live showing of sessions will] encourage our fellow members to attend and actively participate in floor deliberations of important bills and resolutions,” Atienza said.

“As opposed to what has been happening for the past three weeks where there were only a handful of us in attendance, so the sessions were either adjourned or measures were being taken up even without a quorum,” said Atienza, a member of the Bloc of Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Atienza made the statement after the House committee on public information approved Atienza’s measure that seeks to amend Section 9 of the PTNI’s Charter, as incorporated in Republic Act No. 7306, by adding to its functions the showing of live proceedings of both Houses without editing nor commentary.

The lawmaker said he envisions PTNI to have the same kind of unprecedented access to lawmakers, similar to the C-Span network in the United States.

Atienza said he believes the passage of the measure will help curb the spate of absenteeism among his colleagues.

Atienza filed the bill in an effort to help the House leadership to address the issue of perennial problem on quorum.

But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said there is no need to pass a law for the purpose.

Belmonte said the problem on quorum has been manageable and a matter of “proper handling” on the part of the House leadership.

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