MANILA – House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday expressed high expectations that the House of Representatives will soon work on “evidence-based, people-oriented” legislation following the signing of a research pact with the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), a premier academic institution in the Philippines.
“Today is indeed an auspicious day at the House of Representatives. It has been our dream to bring about a ‘smarter’ House of Representatives, one that is equipped with the means by which we can effectively pursue evidence-based and people-oriented legislation in a timely manner,” Romualdez said in a speech delivered during the ceremonial signing of the historic agreement held Tuesday at the Romualdez Hall of the House of Representatives complex.
“This morning’s signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the House and the ADMU for the research partnership project is an important step in the realization of this dream,” he added.
The MOA, dubbed as the “HRep-ADMU Research Project”, was signed by Secretary-General Reginald Velasco for the House of Representatives and Fr. Roberto Yap, president of ADMU and on behalf of the university’s Department of Economics and the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD).
“This partnership could not come at a more opportune time. We are at a critical juncture in our life as a nation. While the state of national health emergency has passed, many of our people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and its byproducts on the economy,” Romualdez said.
The Speaker added that the global economic prospects in the coming years are not all that bright either. "These conditions make it imperative that the decisions we make here and now actually result in changes that lead to the intended improvement in the lives of many, if not all our people."
Because of these, the HRep-ADMU research partnership will focus on organizing 11 “research teams” that will conduct studies on sectors identified in the 8-point agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
These are in the areas of agriculture and food security; infrastructure, transportation and energy security; health, education and social protection; employment; fiscal management; competition and entrepreneurship; research, development and the digital economy; environment, green and blue economy, and sustainable communities, and; peace, security, and public order and safety.
According to the MOA, the research teams “shall be headed by experts in the field, and they shall be called Congressional Research Fellows (CRFs).”
“The CRFs shall come from ADMU, and other universities or research institutions,” the MOA read.
The research teams shall also include representatives from the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), an office that is mandated to conduct policy and budget research to serve as informational foundation to legislation and oversight.
The ACERD is a center of excellence in the ADMU system dedicated to producing research that can serve as input to policy-making. It also coordinates with other institutions to promote exchange of knowledge and skills.
Given ADMU’s precept of “persons-for-and-with-others,” Romualdez is optimistic that this partnership will produce legislation that will sincerely benefit the Filipino people as the academic institution is known to promote service, justice and helping the poor.
“This is why this partnership is very important. We need all the help we can get if we are to realize the ambitious goal of our beloved President to lower the poverty rate to a single digit over the next five years,” Romualdez said.
“Ateneo can greatly help us in this regard not only by providing Congress with timely, credible, useful and policy-relevant technical information for legislation borne from rigorous research, but also by lending their esteemed voices in the discussion of proposed reforms with the end-in-view of educating our people on the need for these reforms,” he continued. "We need these inputs if the nation is to surmount the economic headwinds before us,” he added.
Romualdez particularly lauded the partnership’s goal, which is to produce legislation based on the 8-point agenda of the President.
“Please proceed with my blessings. We have our jobs before us and we need to act quickly. Our people are counting on us – in stabilizing the prices of basic commodities, in attracting more investments and creating more quality employment, in ensuring economic growth and prosperity,” he said. “We cannot fail. With everyone’s participation, we will not fail."
He also thanked the “prime movers” behind this project: Congressman Elizaldy Co, Congresswoman Stella Quimbo, Congresswoman Yedda Marie Romualdez, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) led by Deputy Secretary General Dr. Romulo Emmanuel Miral Jr. and the Legal and Finance Departments of the House of Representatives.
“Let me also convey my gratitude to the Ateneo de Manila University, led by its President, Father Yap, for allowing the University’s formidable academic resources to be used for the noble task of nation-building through the legislative process,” Romualdez said.
“It is my hope that other educational institutions will follow your lead and also partner with the House in our shared pursuit of sustainable economic development,” he added. (PNA)