NINE more committee chairmanships were distributed at the House with Representative Henedina Abad (lone district, Batanes), wife of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr., named as chair of the House energy committee.

Some leftist groups earlier criticized the Abad family for occupying too many posts in government.

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The daughter of the Abad couple, Julia, is the Presidential Management Staff head while her brother, Luis, is the chief of staff of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Absentee lawmaker Julio Ledesma IV (first district, Negros Occidental), meantime was tasked to head the committee on science and technology.

Asked whether Ledesma's attendance record will affect the performance of his committee, Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II told Sun.Star in a text message that "he has already promised to attend sessions and committee hearings".

Gonzales added that there are only nine committees out of 69 left to be organized by the House of Representatives. Some committees have already started their organizational meetings this week.

Former first lady Imelda Marcos, now congresswoman of the second district of Ilocos Nort, will chair the committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the group that will look into the achievement of the country's commitment to the MDG.

The other chairmanships were assigned to Representatives Maximo Dalog (lone district, Mountain Province), committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle; Renato Unico Jr. (first district, Camarines Norte), committee on youth and sports development; Agapito Guanlao (Buhay party-list), committee on food and security; Cesar Jalosjos (third district, Zamboanga del Norte), committee on government reorganization; Marcelino Teodoro (first district, Marikina), committee on legislative franchises; and Walden Bello (Bayan Muna party-list), committee on overseas workers affairs.

Bello expressed his commitment to use his committee to actively protect the basic rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers.

“The work in the committee will start by bringing the different agencies of government closer to the migrant workers and their families,” Bello said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)