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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

e-Congress will encourage citizen participation in lawmaking—Speaker Romualdez
10 March 2023 04:00:04 PM

The integrated digital legislative management system Congress is establishing will encourage citizen participation in lawmaking, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in his message delivered by former President-turned Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Pampanga Thursday.

The message was read during the launch of the digital platform to be known as “eCongress,” attended by Senate and House leaders, including Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose "Mannix" M. Dalipe, Sens. Loren Legarda and Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito and Reps. Tobias "Tony" Tiangco and Joboy Aquino, House Secretary General Reginald S. Velasco, and Senate Sec. Renato N. Bantug Jr.

The Speaker said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in his first State of the Nation Address in July last year, brought up the need to digitize, harmonize and share government records across departments and agencies.

“In response to this call, the House of Representatives, along with the Senate, now jointly establish and maintain an integrated and secure digital legislative management system for the Congress of the Philippines,” he said.

The Speaker said eCongress represents the “synergy” between the Senate and the House in their common aspiration to digitize their processes, services, and records, and share information.

He noted that such an effective communications system not only amplifies the capacity of government organizations, ensures greater transparency, and deters corruption but also serves as a mechanism for public information to promote citizen engagement in policy-making.

“e-Congress will also provide updates on the status of bills, and resolutions and report legislative undertakings to inform the public and encourage citizen participation,” he said.

“It is our vision to make eCongress a key contributor in modernizing our core legislative processes towards a people-centered legislative governance and in enhancing our adherence to the democratic principles of transparency, accountability, and responsiveness,” he stressed.

The House leader recalled that President Marcos, armed with an overwhelming mandate from the electorate, had set out to steer the country from challenges and uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and external shocks towards economic recovery, sustained growth, and social transformation.

He said such challenges highlighted the role of Congress in making relevant, responsive, and timely legislation to meet the administration’s targets and “to raise the quality of public service, particularly lawmaking, representation and oversight functions of the legislative branch of government, ensuring that our laws consistently reflect our values, principles, and aspirations as Filipinos.”

“To carry out this crucial role, it is imperative that both houses of Congress exercise constant collaboration, coordination, and sharing of information towards people-centered legislative governance,” he said.

The Speaker said e-Congress would use information and communications technology and other digital means of facilitating the delivery of services.

Romualdez thanked all Senate and House personnel involved in the collaborative eCongress project.

To ensure the success of the project, he said there would be continuous capacity building to enhance the digital skills of lawmakers, legislative staff, and other stakeholders.

A memorandum of agreement on the details of operating and maintaining the system was signed by Velasco and Bantug.(END)