Hey there! If you happen to see this blog post by coincidence then welcome, my dear friend! I’d like to share my escapade as an intern in the Philippine House of Representatives with a hope to let an individual out there be enlighten on the matter of internship program in the HRep. This is my fourth post regarding my internship journey at the House of Representatives (HRep) and if you wish to see my previous posts, you may click the following links:
Today, I’ll be sharing my experience at a committee meeting!! (wait, what?) In my previous post, I stated that since the congress is in recess, there will be no committee work, no drafting of bills, no filing of bills, no meetings on any deliberation of a house bill, no action, but why do we have a committee meeting? Here’s the context.
The Deputy Executive Director Ma’am Lorelei is one of our supervisors who manages the internship program. Due to the fact that the congress is in recess, Ma’am Lorelei and her team felt helpless because they believe that they couldn’t offer a work to us. They were frustrated that we wouldn’t be able to witness the “real action” in the congress; the heart of law drafting and making is the committee work. Therefore, Ma’am Lorelei thought of conducting a mock committee meeting! (yey!)
In a committee meeting, there should be a chairperson, vice chairperson, members of the committee, and of course the committee secretary. This committee meeting is where the members of a certain committee (for example, Committee on Justice) deliberate and discuss on a specific house bill. Dito talaga unang inaayos ang house bills. Moving on, the Committee Secretary is the secretary of the chairperson; a congressman or a woman. The Committee Secretary is responsible of organizing the meeting, sending invites and notices, creating the agenda, research work for the chairperson, reserving food for the participants, confirming the attendance, in short EVERYTHING. Since we will be conducting a mock committee meeting, Ma’am Lorelei asked for a volunteer so I happily and hurriedly raised my hand to volunteer #competitive. And another guy from UP NCPAG also volunteered to be a committee secretary.
Fast forward to our committee meeting, my fellow committee secretary were quite worried. We have to compile 100 pages of house bills, Republic Acts, Meeting Guide, Matrix of Measures, Agenda, and Position Papers in less than 4 hours! There were some revisions made in the meeting guide and in the position paper so we had to wait for their late submissions and we had to edit the meeting guide. When the files were ready to be submitted, unexpectedly most of the employees were at a meeting so we had to wait for them. While we wait, my fellow committee secretary skipped meal because we prepared for the committee meeting so we read the house bills, the laws, everything that is related with the meeting. As committee secretaries, we must know what the meeting is all about because we must follow the flow of the discussion, must guide the chairperson when the chairperson is at lost, and must know the inquiries of the members of the committee.
Fast forward when we went to the meeting venue, there were unexpected errors! Man, I was really frustrated but I still remained calm and understanding. There were some tasks that were not executed by some of the secretariats which is very frustrating but instead of whining about it, we have to do something to address the issue. After some time, it was then addressed with the help of the secretariat team. The meeting kit was already distributed so we started the committee meeting.
The committee meeting lasted for 2 hours, and it was a success! We had a fruitful discussion! After a stressful and tiring day, I have to say that I love being a committee secretary. It was an exhausting job, but I enjoyed it because I learned from this experience. Overall, this experience is one of the moments in my internship program. I really want to thank Ma’am Lorelei for this idea to conduct a mock committee meeting, Secretary General for allowing this activity for us, the A-Team or the committee secretaries who organized the meeting, the committee secretaries who participated in the mock committee meeting, the secretariat team (A.K.A my co-interns), and my fellow committee secretary. Indeed, it is an experience that is worth a stress. 🙂