PBBM bats for swift passage of bills


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is hoping for swift congressional action on several bills including the Maritime Industry Authority Regulatory Functions, ASIN Law Amendment, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, and Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.

The Presidential Communications Office on Wednesday said the President is particularly pushing for the ratification of RCEP in the Senate.

RCEP is a free trade agreement between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and its five FTA partners (Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea).

The agreement liberalizes trade in goods and services by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers.

It contributes around 30 percent of the global gross domestic product and more than 25 percent of world exports.

During his maiden state of the nation address last year, Marcos enumerated his administration’s priority bills that he said are essential in the implementation of the administration’s plans and programs for the country, particularly the 8-point socioeconomic agenda.

Among those he certified as urgent include the Fiscal Year 2023 General Appropriations Bill, Amendments to Republic Act No. 11709 (AFP Professionalism), Maharlika Investment Fund, the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and National Service Training Program.

As of 18 January, 10 out of the 20 SoNA priority legislative measures have been passed by the House of Representatives and transmitted to the Senate, according to the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

These measures include the Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act, and Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Bill.

Also passed were Tax Package 3: Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, Internet Transaction Act or the E-Commerce Law and Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.

The creation of the Medical Reserve Corps, the creation of the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines, and an amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law are also among the priority legislations.

The remaining 10 SONA priority bills are at the level of the committees in both houses of Congress.

These include the Department of Water Resources, E-Government/Governance Act, Government Rightsizing Program, National Land Use Act, Budget Modernization, Natural Gas Industry Enabling Law, EPIRA Amendments, MUP Pension Reform, and National Defense Act.

There are bills certified as urgent by the President and other Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council-priority bills that have been passed by the lower house but are still pending in the Senate.

The LEDAC-priority bills include the New Passport Law, Leyte Ecological Zone, Waste Treatment Technology, Free Legal Assistance for Military and Uniformed Personnel, Eastern Visayas Development Authority, Revised National Apprenticeship Program, and the Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers.

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