By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez is calling on his colleagues in the incoming 18th Congress to cross partylines to ensure that all priority economic measures of President Duterte will be passed within three years.
He made the call, as President Duterte directed them to institutionalize reforms that would generate jobs, attract more foreign investments, build better infrastructures, and alleviate poverty in the country.
“We, the incoming members of the 18th Congress, are faced with the important task of pursuing vital economic legislation needed to sustain higher productivity growth. Global industrial giants see a great potential in us, but we just have to work hard to gain theirtrust and confidence,” Romualdez, one of the frontrunners in the Speakership race, said in a statement, shortly after arriving home from the Japan trip with President Duterte.
“The President has issued the marching orders, and we need to follow if we all want to become a prosperous middle-class country free from poverty by 2040. The way I see it, we need to focus more on institutionalizing reforms that will encourage the influx of more investments, the creation of more jobs, improvement in human capital investment, and the building of better infrastructure,” he said.
He said the incoming 18th Congress should take a second look at the country’s relatively restrictive and less competitive economic policies.
He noted that the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act should be amended to encourage investments in industry and services and boost private construction.
“We also need new pieces of scientific legislation alongside improvements in communication, technology, entry of foreign investors, total expenditure on research and development, easing of start-up procedures, implementation of public sector contracts, knowledge transfer, total public expenditure on education and development and application of technology,” Romualdez, president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), added.
The former House Independent Bloc Leader of the previous 16th Congress also cited the pressing need for the 18th Congress to “address the urgent concerns of controlling inflation, improving the pay of workers, creating more jobs, fighting criminality, reducing poverty, fighting corruption and enhancing national security.”
He said while, the 18th Congress will be facing a Herculean task of approving all of the President’s priority economic measures in just three years, “nothing is impossible if we all set our sights on that goal.”
“All we need is to unite as one body and set politics aside. If need be, we have to cross party lines to help the President lift our people from poverty. Sayang naman ang lahat ng ginagagawa ng ating Pangulo kung mauuwi lang sa wala,” Romualdez said.
He cited that the Japanese investors “were impressed” with the country’s government and business delegation, prodding the Team Philippines, led by President Duterte, to bag $5.5 billion or P288.804 billion worth of Japanese investment.
“They see that we all work as a team and they see that as good for business,” he cited.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez had disclosed that the Philippines and Japan have forged a total of 26 business deals before President Duterte addressed the Japanese businessmen at the 25th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo last Wednesday.
The deals, which are expected to generate 82, 737 jobs, cover infrastructure, manufacturing, electronics, medical devices, business process outsourcing, power, electricity,transport, automotive, food manufacturing and marine manpower industries.
Romualdez also exhorted colleagues to exercise their oversight function to ensure the swift implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Act.
The implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11032, also known as the EODB Law, have yet to be issued one year after its passage.
The law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year, is expected to simplify procedures and establish timelines in securing permits and other transactions with government.