House may hold virtual sessions when it resumes

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THE House of Representatives may hold virtual sessions once Congress resumes on May 4 if the risk of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) still persists, House Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.

“So as far as the pragmatic side (is concerned), eh kung may danger pa rin sa virus then pwedeng virtual pa rin yung session. But actually, Senate Majority Leader (Juan Miguel F.) Zubiri, nag-usap kami once at sabi nga niya na we might have to look at the calendar depende nga dito sa nangyayari sa COVID. So habang papalapit tayo sa May 4, saka tayo mag brief about that,” he said in a virtual press conference on Friday. (So as far as the pragmatic side (is concerned), if there is still a danger from the virus then we can have a virtual session. But actually, we — Senate Majority Leader (Juan Miguel F.) Zubiri and I — talked once and he said that we might have to look at the calendar, it will depend on what happens with COVID. So, we will brief you as we get closer to May 4.)

The House Speaker added that they are still coordinating with the Senate about covening the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Mr. Cayetano also said that there is a need to have a “new mindset” as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because whether we like it or not we have to have a new mindset. Hindi pwede yung (we can’t have the) old mindset natin sa (in the) new normal. So lahat ng pinag uusapan (everything we are talking) about the environment, protecting the forest, about mass transportation, prioritizing health facilities, it was an awakening among all of us. We can’t really go back. I still expect a rat race na bumalik pa rin once na mag (will return one we arrive at the) new normal but I think we will all never forget what happened now,” he said. — Genshen L. Espedido