Congress to spend $47,700 on session in Ica

Plans by Peru’s Congress to hold a session in the southern city of Ica is expected to cost 130,000 soles (approximately $47,700), the president of Congress, Daniel Abugattas, said.

“The session is a symbolic act of decentralization and we will try to make sure that the agenda of this session is intimately linked to Ica,” state news agency Andina reported Abugattas as saying. “To be able to connect the representation with the people is an enormous challenge that we’ve proposed to meet.”

The full legislative session, which is scheduled for September 8, has been criticized by opposition lawmakers and analysts. Local media originally reported that the session would cost about 300,000 soles.

Reconstruction in much of the Ica region, harshly hit by the 2007 earthquake, has been slow, ineffective and mired in corruption. In his inaugural speech in July, President Humala made rebuilding Ica a priority and the Ministry of Defense has begun to send army troops to rebuild roads and public infrastructure.

Abugattas said the session is important “to open the doors of Congress to the people.” He said that in recent years, legislators have become increasingly distanced from their constituents, which has led the population to feel disenfranchised  with regards to Congress.

In opinion polls, Congress is regularly cited as one of the least favored public institutions in Peru.

“What we have to do is to get lawmakers to integrate more in Peru, that’s why our policy is a policy to open the doors of Congress to Peru. If Congress doesn’t have direct contact with the population, what’s the purpose of having a Congress?” Abugattas said.

Plans are to hold town hall meetings as well as work sessions with local authorities from cities and villages of the region.

“This is a phenomenon that is completely different from sending a brochure…That’s the change; the money to be used is the same,” he added.

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One Comment

  1. deborah sletten says:

    Town hall meetings are good I have been to a few. Townhall meetings allow commoners to judge the sincerity of their representative and therefore ought to put people at ease with their government. I have also been summoned to townhall over my cell phone where I get to listen and request audience a lot less expensive than a physical meeting place.

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