The Parliament plenary today was chaired by the Speaker Fernando Lasama de Araujo with the Vice Speaker Maria Paixao and other MPs across the parties in attendance.
The agenda for today comprises of the discussion on the Resolution n.39 on the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in the South East Asia and Protocols and Final Voting on the Draft Law N 50/II on the Strike Law.
As the political statement of Fretilin was cancelled, the plenary continued its discussion on various issues (diversos) including: plenary attendance and absence justification, Timor Telecom business management, legal cases of Minister Lucia Lobato and Minister Arcangelo Leite, electricity short circuits, veterans’ payment gaps, bridges and roads construction. More details are as follows:
Attendance of MPs- absence justification – Fernanda Lay disagreed with the “simplified” absence justification by MPs by only saying “important reasons” (Por razoes ponderosas), rather than a clear and detailed justification. Fernanda Lay also concerned on the Timor Telecom business management in particular regarding Sim card and pulsa selling that are currently made by individuals in the streets rather than in the “lojas” of Timor Telecom, which she suspects are aimed for TT individuals’ earnings instead of the institution. As result, this has caused significant reduction in revenues for both the TT and Government.
MP Riak Leman questioned that the Parliament‘s response against the legal process of Minister Lucia Lobato that has been submitted to the Parliament seems to be slow and unclear. The similar process of Minister Arcangelo Leite also has had little attention from the Parliament.
The Chair responded that the case of Minister Lucia Lobato has been scheduled by the Court to be heard in March 17, and the process is now under legal and administrative analysis in the Parliament by advisers. Regarding Minister Arcangelo Leite, he said that it was scheduled to be debated last year, however it could not be debated due to lack of quorum. He guaranteed that once ready it will be referred to the plenary for debate and voting.
Inacio Moreira questioned about the current electricity short circuits in Dili and elsewhere which he suspected are caused by the old distribution lines cables that have not been replaced/reinstalled yet. He recommended the government to carefully verify it, before it gets worse.
Joao Adriano called on attention of the government to take urgent measures to tackle the Nunura Bridge that is now in danger because of landslides nearby which have badly affected it. Similarly Renang also called on attention the government to take urgent measures regarding several small bridges in the eastern part as we approach the elections, including the Buihomau small bridge that was broken down in 2009 but until now is still untouched. Renang also pointed out that the road construction in Baguia with the total budget of $375,000 has not been started yet. He sincerely admitted that the project contract was awarded to a member of his party UNDERTIM but since it has not started yet, he sincerely recommended to be reallocated to any other contractor to speed up its construction activities for the sake of the nation. The Chair congratulated the attitude of Renang as exemplary to be pursued by other parties’ members.
Regarding veterans issues, Renang reported that many (eligible candidates) veterans were only paid one month subsidy but have not received their retroactive fees, due to law constraints. He suggested the government to review the current law to pave them the way to get their rights.
The Chair responded that the nature of the veterans problems is serious and immense, therefore he viewed that reviewing the law only may not be enough but instead a comprehensive analysis of the problem including the national financial resources capabilities, the eligibility criteria, etc. are necessary to find permanent and satisfactory solutions.
Lastly David Ximenes concerned about the re-construction of retaining wall in Fatu-Ahi road that has been badly damaged by landslides, with blocks, instead of stones ( for instance), look strange and for sure will not be resistant against future landslides.