Senate hearings begin live streaming

November 26, 2010

Marvin Sy
The Philippine Star
November 26, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in the country’s history, anyone with access to the Internet can now watch what goes on in Congress.

The Senate has begun live streaming over the Internet of its sessions, starting with the plenary debates on the proposed P1.645-trillion national budget for 2011.

Apart from promoting transparency and accountability on the part of the legislature, the public broadcasting of the sessions of the Senate would also educate the public, particularly students who want to witness what goes on in the halls of Congress.

The broadcast appears to still be in the testing stage as the live stream occasionally goes down.

But on the few occasions that the server was up, visitors of the Senate website were able to witness the deliberations on the proposed budget of the Department of Education, which went on for most of the day.

It was Sen. Francis Pangilinan who pushed for the live streaming of the sessions when he filed Senate Resolution No. 53 last July.

In his resolution, Pangilinan said that the live feed from the Senate, without editing or commentary, will provide accurate information to the public.

“Opening public proceedings to new media of late has become a vital source of interaction not only in the country but in other countries’ government as well,” Pangilinan said.

“Our aim is to provide the public in general accurate information, transparency and accountability of legislators in the proceedings in the Senate. This is also aligned with the goals of the Aquino administration of having the public participate in governance,” he added.

While admitting that a lot of the sessions involve debates between legislators about certain measures, he said that it is just one of the aspects of their duties.

“Now the public can see and judge for themselves how their elected officials are doing their jobs,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan noted that live streaming of the proceedings of Congress has been done in the United States and in Canada.

He said that the streaming and recording of the Senate proceedings would encourage greater participation from the public.

“It is a known fact that most of the time, issues and discussions raised during the plenary sessions and committee hearings/meetings are misinterpreted, which cause unnecessary confusion to the public,” he said.

To access the live streaming of the Senate proceedings, visit the Senate website at www.senate.gov.ph <http://www.senate.gov.ph/> and click on the live webcast link on the page.

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