The Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. in the House of Representatives on Friday demanded equal treatment and to be treated as district congressmen.
The group’s president, 1Pacman Party-list Rep. Michael Romero, made the appeal with the PLC after the group emerged as the second largest political bloc in the House. He said party-list congressmen were also elected by 30 million Filipinos.
“The party-list coalition bloc comprises 20 percent [of the House membership], and we are asking for 20 percent of the positions. Everything should be a proportional share, and we believe this is fair because we represent 30 million Filipinos who voted during the last election,”Romero said.
Earlier, one of the contenders to the speakership in the 18th Congress, Representative-elect Martin Romualdez of Leyte, assured the newly constituted PLC of a fair and equitable distribution of the committee posts and budget allocations should he be elected Speaker.
Romualdez, president of the Philippine Constitution Association and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, recognized the great contribution of the party-list bloc in ensuring the swift passage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda in the 17th Congress, adding the group would continue to be a powerful partner for reforms in the next Congress.
Lawmakers belonging to the party-list groups have been considered marginalized because most of the committee chairmanships and memberships were given to district congressmen in the previous Congresses.
Only during the 17th Congress under Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that the party-list congressmen were given due recognition.
Romero said the feeling of being left out or discriminated upon was common among the past and present crop of party-list representatives.
“We talked about being considered second class citizens in Congress and how to go about it. We are happy that we have this talk with the speakers,” he said.
Romero is the vice chairman of the House Committees on Housing and Urban Development and on Sports and Youth Development. He has also been elected vice chairman of the Special Committee on the East ASEAN Growth Area at the 17th Congress.
Romero ran unopposed as new leader of the PCFI as its members, with coalition secretary general and Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy acknowledging Romero’s “sterling leadership” in advocating for the grant of a more significant role for the party-list representatives in running the affairs of the Lower House.
Aside from Romero and Herrera-Dy, the new set of PCFI officers will be comprised of the following:
Reps. Ron Salo (Kabayan) deputy secretary general; Anna Villaraza-Suarez (ALONA), treasurer; Rico Geron (AGAP); Virgilio Lacson (Manila Teachers) and Anton Lopez (Marino) as vice presidents.
The board of trustees are Reps. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod); Raymond Mendoza (TUCP); Shernee Tan (Kusug Tausug); Amihilda Sangcopan (Anak Mindanao); Sabiniano Canama (Coop-Natcco); Mariano Piamonte Jr. (A Teachers); Apid de los Santos (Ang Probinsyano); Bong Teves (TGP); Sonny Lagon (Ako Bisaya); Argel Cabatbat (Magsasaka) and GP Padierno (GP).
Reps. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip); Alfredo Garbin Jr. (Ako-Bicol) and Nina Taduran (ACT CIS) will be the spokerspersons while Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA) will be chairman emeritus.
The PLC in the 18th Congress comprise 51 members.