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Unity is essential in lawmaking (2)

By Vince Borneo
for the National Unity Party

LAST week, we took onthe first role of legislators in the Philippines – that of making, amending orrevising laws – and how Misamis Oriental (2nd District) Congresswoman JulietteUy of the National Unity Party (NUP) has so far shepherded 19 laws for herconstituencies and the country.

This week we shall look at how Congresswoman Uy has so far maximized the exercise of the congressional power of oversight.

During her first stint in the 16th Congress, Uy delivered a privilege speech in Sept. 3, 2013 on the various issues attending the Laguindingan Airport, the then Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

In her speech, she appealed to the national government to fast-track the installation of navigation aids and instruments at the Laguindingan Airport and the surrounding road infrastructure so as to make the airport 100 percent operational. The early months of the airport in Laguindingan only had a maximum of 18 daily flights paling in comparison to the old Lumbia airport operations which had as many as 26 flights a day.

That privilege speech resulted in the eventual and continued improvement of the said airport’s operations, the surrounding infrastructure and the restoration of night flights since 2014. Presently, Cong. Uy is working with business and employee stakeholders to ensure that national government funding for the upgrade of the Laguindingan Airport is in the 2019 national budget.

In the current 17th Congress, Cong. Uy filed House Resolution 957 that set public hearings and ocular inspections to determine the dire consequences of a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) order to close down extension campuses of the Bukidnon State University (BSU) that would displace some 5,000 students in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon provinces.

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Ann Hofer, approved a motion, calling on the CHED to stop its abolition plan, which deprive the youth, who come from poor families, in acquiring a college education.

After two public hearings (one in Congress and one Cagayan de Oro City) the ocular visits of CHED teams from its Central Office, Congress was able to prevail on the CHED to issue En Banc Resolution No. 097-2018 on May 29, 2018. The said Order gave all stakeholders of Misamis Oriental a three-year grace period to keep the BSU-ESCs in Alubijid, Sugbongcogon, Talisayan, Medina, Salay, and Gingoog City open while complying with the stringent CHED requirements.

Essentially, Cong. Uy along with like-minded officials from local government units were able to save six (6) out of 11 BSU-ESCs in Misamis Oriental from permanent closure.

These are small but significant victories in the work of a conscientious lawmaker. That being said, Cong. Juliette Uy continues to unite and lead her fellow officials on the road to progress with service to various constituencies as a guide post toward a better life for all.

(Vince Borneo is a legislative staff in the House of Representatives. He is contributor to local dailies on the side.)

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