House rules amendment okayed on second reading

THE CITY Council, during its special session last Friday, approved on second reading the resolution amending its house rules on the privilege hour.

The proposal, once approved, will also prohibit picture-taking as well as any kind of other activity on the floor during the privilege hour.

Councilor Melchor Quitain Jr., chair of the committee on rules, laws, privileges, and ordinances, authored the proposal to amend Section 53 (privilege hour) of the Sangguniang Panlungsod house rules.

During the special session on Friday, the councilors agreed that any member may speak for not more than 10 minutes on one subject matter, only of general interest, and an extension for a maximum three minutes are allowed, subject to the approval of the body.

The resolution stemmed from the privilege speech of the Councilor Bonifacio Militar on Oct. 21, 2014, suggesting an amendment of the particular section of the House rules to limit the number of speakers to three only to speedily dispose all important items in the agenda.

But a report from Quitain’s committee said that a maximum of six speakers can avail the privilege hour, if they would strictly implement the 10-minute time limit for each speaker, during each session.

Invited guests during the privilege hour may be introduced, recognized and may speak upon the approval of the majority.

Initially, the committee suggested that invited guests may be introduced and recognized during the privilege hour but should not be allowed to speak and address the plenary.

The body also will also decide on the suggestion that picture taking as well as any kind of activity, such as singing and dancing, on the floor will only be allowed after the privilege hour upon the approval of the presiding officer.

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