At close to midnight yesterday, June 10 – that is, a couple of hours ago as I type this, the House of Representatives approved the Renewable Energy Bill on second reading. They’re targeting third reading approval by today, June 11. Yey, yey, yey! (Forgive me for not being more articulate. It’s half-past-one in the morning and I’ve just spent most of the day hanging out at Congress).
It was certainly the most action-packed Congress session I’ve ever witnessed. And no, it was not because of the RE Bill, but because of the bill on the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). It’s also a very frustrating time for the agrarian reform campaign, because the CARP expires June 10 and Congress hasn’t passed an extension yet, let alone a replacement/improved program. At some point, bedlam ensued at one side of the gallery, with the farmers’ groups suddenly erupting in protest, some jumping the gallery barriers in an attempt to penetrate the session floor. Session was hastily suspended while the gallery was cleared, but the farmers were clearly very emotional at that point and there was a lot of shouting and arguing for a few minutes. I watched the proceedings with mixed feelings; one part of me fearing that this would delay the RE Bill, another part realizing that the plight of the farmers is also a very valid and urgent concern. I’ve been feeling frustrated at the erratic progress of the RE Bill, but I cannot even begin to imagine the level of the farmers’ frustration.