The rise of the party-list
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2019 - 12:00am

As a broadcaster I get a lot of inquiry on politics, and the most recent “topnotcher” inquiry was all about party-lists. I never really had much experience on this, however, I was lucky to have gotten in touch with an old childhood friend who was gracious enough to educate me on the many accomplishments done by the party list system.

I was very specific when I got in touch with Congressman Mikee Romero who enlightened me on the matter. In our conversation I cited 1PacMan because I wanted very much to learn more about a party-list that focuses on education and sports wherein laws could be translated into jobs.

To my surprise I read all 25 laws passed in three years by 1PacMan Party-List that surpassed my expectations and left me really excited for the future generation.

In Europe, specifically Spain, party-lists to me are common and I see more or less how they function especially in a sectoral level. It somewhat kept me wondering throughout the years if our own party-list system functions the same way where impact could really be felt by constituents who are the stakeholders.

At this point, and after midterm elections we are witnessing a shift as one may possibly call it wherein the party-list forms the biggest block that can be empowered to renegotiate membership in committees for proper representation.

There are 30 million constituents, however, representation for party-list is small and voices are not heard for constituencies that ought to move from marginalized to sectoral levels. Having said this, it seems urgent therefore for party-lists to be members in all committees.

As mentioned earlier, party-lists are big around the world and it is sectoral, making it possible to erase patronage politics and provide a bigger standpoint. It is also important to note that the numbers are needed to “win the race” in terms of the Speakership. It seems at this point, all political parties are trying to make a strategic coalition with the party-list but apart from this, what is crucial is the issue on representation. One can possibly therefore conclude that if the party-list makes up 20 percent in terms of numbers, 30 percent is needed from the house to “make” a Speaker. To be honest , even I at some point considered the party-list as second class – at most here in the Philippines , and for lack of my own education on the matter.

But having heard Congressman Romero in his interview with my fellow columnist at the Philippine STAR Cito Beltran on his show Agenda, I learned exactly how my experience of party-lists in Europe can certainly function the same way in our very own Congress. While for so long party-lists suffered this stigma of being considered as second class members, at present, and for the very first time, the contenders for speakership may possibly even pitch for the position and to the members of the party-list.

Again however, because the goal and as explained by Congressman Mikee Romero, it is very important to look at the party-lists from hereon as sectoral and real offers of representation are necessary to truly and visibly serve. While in the past committees with “less” value ( and for lack of a better term) were assigned to the party-lists, this time around, committees on education, sports, food security, ways and means – committees that have huge impact on the sectoral level are now non-negotiable for the party-list members.

 Congressman Romero is set to renegotiate in behalf of the block which is currently the biggest at the House of Representatives.

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