An unknown congressman for speakership
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - July 9, 2019 - 12:00am

I think there is something to be said for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s suggestion of a “compromise candidate” for speaker of the House of Representatives. This comes at the heels of constant bitter quarreling among administration allies over the coveted post. It’s understandable that House members would argue over the position seeing as how it is the fourth highest position in the land and can help sway the agenda of the House.

If Mayor Duterte-Carpio’s suggestion were to be implemented – then a candidate not currently wrangling for the position would be strongly considered. In all of this, the President’s voice has not been heard as he said that he would not get involved in the decision for speaker and instead let the House decide that amongst themselves. However, they are not any closer to coming to a decision and it’s high time to move forward so that the House may better serve the country. Perhaps this recommendation is exactly what they needed to overcome this hurdle and get back to work.

Personally, I don’t think that the idea being discussed by Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of “term-sharing” would work. First of all, it doesn’t give the House firm leadership. How are they to follow a leader when they know that they are not going last more than a mere 18 months? They would be unsure on which agenda to follow or at least which would guide them. The speaker would hardly be able to implement his strategy before being replaced by another, who would – again – only have a short period of time in office. I believe the next speaker should be co-terminus with the president and vice president and have his/her tenure end when theirs do.

I believe that a compromise candidate is probably the best way to go here. It will stop the quarreling and will finally get the House back on track. And the compromise candidate they are discussing is Rep. Isidro Ungab. And now that he has been thrust in to the spotlight a little background check on him has shown that he is indeed more than qualified for the job. He holds management degrees from the Asian Institute of Management and Development Academy of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines-Los Banos. He was also a military reserve who finished the command and general staff course.

Ungab is also a four-term congressman and during his tenure he served as the chairman of the ways and means committee and the chairman of the appropriations committee. He is also the only lawmaker to hold the chairmanship of both committees. I think he would make a good fit for speaker. And if the recommendation for Ungab as speaker were to push through it goes so far as to say that Rep. Cayetano should take majority leader position, Rep. Velasco would take appropriations committee, and Rep. Martin Romualdez to head the accounts committee. I guess we will find out how it plays out when the 18th Congress reconvenes at the end of the month.

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Senator Richard Gordon has conceptualized a brilliant plan for workplaces and it is something that should be seriously considered. Following the terrible incident that happened when veteran actor Eddie Garcia accidentally fell while on set during shooting, Gordon expressed his concern that most workplaces don’t have trained first aiders readily available to be first line responders.

Gordon, who is recognized for his work with Red Cross and disaster relief, said that the incident is a wake up call for business owners to follow the provision under Republic Act (RA) 10058 or the “Act of Strengthening Compliance with Occupational, Safety and Health (OSH) Standards,” which mandates business owners to have workers undertake first aid training from the Philippine Red Cross or any other recognized organization.

According to Gordon, there would have been better chances for Garcia to survive had there been a trained first aide responder on site when his accident happened. A trained individual would have been able to immediately assess whether he was conscious or unconscious, confirm if it was cardiac arrest, or if he had sustained any grave injuries such as a spine injury – at which point the responder could have secured his head and neck to prevent movement and worsening the injury while waiting for the ambulance. It can’t be said that things would have turned out differently, but the chances for survival and recovery would have been greatly improved.

PRC offers first aid designed to meet the needs of companies and communities, including standard first aid and basic life support, occupational first aid, emergency first aid, junior first aid, and water safety. Providing this type of training to employees on site can help greatly increase workplace security. Alternatively, the PRC can also be tapped to provide on-site first aid and emergency services for big events such as mass gatherings, sports events, and festivals.

Additionally, Red Cross is also calling on homeowners associations to conduct first aid training for household help to bolster household safety.

I think these are really good ideas and should be implemented immediately both at the corporate level and the barangay/community level. The more people are aware of first aid and properly trained, the safer we will all be.

For inquiries about first aid training and ambulance service, you can contact Philippine Red Cross at 7902300 or through email at:

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