The Hybrid Plenary Session of the House of Representatives was first adopted in its special session on 23 March 2020, after the declaration of the Philippine President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, of the State of Public Health Emergency and later, the State of Calamity due to the emergence of coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

This is an unprecedented plenary session since the inception of the House of Representatives in 1907 and the second pandemic the institution encountered in its 112 years of existence.

Photo credit: Roy Sescon ©

In the absence of a resolution, the House of Representatives’ leadership endorsed the Hybrid Plenary Session, allowing lawmakers to attend, participate, vote in all plenary proceedings employing electronic means such as electronic mail, teleconferencing, and messaging apps.

The innovation is an initiative to pass measures relative to the COVID-19 and enact other pressing matters of national interests in continuity in the face of the pandemic.

Photo Credit: House of Representatives

With the integration of the Hybrid Plenary Session, only twenty-five House members can attend in the flesh inside the plenary hall alongside fifty staffers. At the same time, some lawmakers can likewise participate in the plenary proceedings virtually via the Zoom application.

In a different light, the Senate has initiated a version of a Hybrid Plenary Session since 4 May 2020. First, the upper house had adopted a resolution, through Senate Resolution 372, otherwise known as a resolution on teleconferencing during national emergencies, before recognizing the Senators taking part online in the plenary proceedings.

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