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Senators should not use mobile phones and other technology gadgets at Senate sessions.

Manila: Senator Miriam Santiago has filed a resolution saying that the Senate rules on decorum for members and guests should include a ban on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices inside the session hall.

Senators should respect the Senate as an institution, said Santiago filed a resolution saying that senators must not bring in their mobile phones and other technological gadets during Senate sessions and committee hearings.

"These gadgets can cause disruptions and distractions during sessions and committee hearings. Impairing decorum due to their abuse and misuse can be considered unparliamentary acts," Santiago said.

"The Senate rules should accommodate the technologically determined changes in society; in this case the prevalent use of gadgets in everyday life," said Santiago, adding, "The Senate should always maintain and observe a level of decorum this high office deserves."

She would often ask fellow senators and guests to turn off their mobile phones when she is presiding over public hearings or when she is giving a privilege speech at the senate.

Without the amendment of the Senate's current rules on decorum, Senator Santiago said she could not unilaterally impose on fellow senators a rule against the use of mobile phones during Senate sessions.

Electronic and mobile devices are allowed at the House of Representatives in the United States and the United Kingdom's Parliament, but with a condition that the gadgets should not impair decorum, explained Santiago.

The banning of mobile phones and other technological gadgets has been widely observed by legislative institutions worldwide said Santiago.

The French National Assembly does not allow the use of technological devices during debates, said Santiago, adding that electronic devices are banned in the plenary halls of the legislative offices of Ireland and Greece.

Laptop computers are banned in the legislative office of Finland. Mobile phones are not allowed by the legislative chamber of New Zealand, she said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 9, 2013
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