MEMBERS of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) will continue to hold weekly sessions after a move to declare a recess for one month in compliance with the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) declared on March 14 by President Rodrigo Duterte, among which requires all residents to stay home, was withdrawn.
The councilors mulled the recess option but eventually decided to support the call of Councilor Liberato Reyna IV, the presiding protempore, to continue to hold sessions weekly on Tuesdays, to be ready to respond to any contingency that will require legislative action.
While SP will continue to meet regularly, the body agreed to dispense with the holding of committee and public hearings that require attendance of resource persons from the various departments and the private sector.
Reyna reminded his colleagues of the Local Government Code that mandates the SP to hold sessions at least once a week and the rules of the SP stipulates that the regular session of the SP shall be every Tuesday starting at 10:00 a.m.
Councilor Dennis Canto earlier proposed that in view of the ECQ that’s in effect in Luzon, the SP should meet only when there is an urgent matter needing to be discussed relative to the ECQ and state of the city in addressing COVID-19.
He initially argued that meetings only on urgent matters will allow for social distancing instead of risking close contacts among them, and also in consideration of the fact that the city hall has started to work with skeletal force.
For his part, Councilor Jose Tamayo proposed the holding of council sessions via Skype to ensure that councilors and the SP staff will not risk close contacts.
He said council sessions using the Skype platform (also referred to as video conferencing) has been done in the past by many legislative bodies.
But Councilor Reyna asserted that the rules of the Dagupan SP are specific on the venue and time of the session, adding that the SP must not shy away from its duties and responsibilities in discussing and acting on the concerns of the people.
In a previous session last month, Councilor and Majority Floor Leader Michael Fernandez proposed that the SP holds twice a week sessions because there are several urgent matters that need to be discussed and passed. (Leonardo Micua)
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