Attention, rookie House members in the upcoming 19th Congress.

Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (left) and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Facebook)

At least two veteran lawmaker-colleagues of yours have shared priceless pieces of advice as to how you should go about your formative years in the House of Representatives.

For Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the neophyte solons mainly need to do three things: “Listen, observe and study.”

“To me, I think they should observe and study and ask always if they don’t understand something. This will allow them to learn quicker,” said the Nacionalista Party (NP) member, who is on his sixth term as a congressman.

There will also come a time when the solons would need to take a position, and be able to defend such position during the many debates on the plenary floor.

“Be prepared with your stand on issues and be able to stand on it if it comes to a point that you will debate and convince fellow solons to take your side,” Barbers said.

Pundits believe that Barbers is in the running for the position of majority leader in the 19th Congress, which will begin in earnest on July 25.

For his part, Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel gave a simple yet solid tip to House noobs: Don’t be an absentee congressman.

“My advice is for them to attend the regular plenary sessions so that they will know the process of how we legislate bills and for them to attend the public hearings,” said Pimentel, spokesperson of the once-ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in the House.

Plenary sessions, which typically begin at 3 p.m., are held Mondays to Wednesdays. House hearings can take place from morning to evening, and are held Mondays to Thursdays, depending on the committees’ schedule.

Pimentel said that being present in these proceedings will make the rookie lawmakers “aware of the issues and concerns of the different government agencies”.

There are an estimated 150 new or returning solons in the House in the upcoming Congress. That’s just under half of the total members of the chamber.

Perhaps the most high profile among the neophytes solons, presidential son and Ilocos Norte 1st district Rep. Sandro Marcos, recently shared the pieces of advice that his father and uncle gave him for his first House stint.

Source: Manila Bulletin (