House vows to expedite passage of 12 economic bills

Published November 10, 2020, 11:11 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Aiming to help the Duterte government reboot the economy and cushion the impact of COVID-19 on country’s vulnerable sectors, the House leadership has vowed to shepherd the expeditious passage of the 12 economic bills identified by the Department of Finance (DoF) as priority reform measures.


House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez said House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has directed the inclusion of the 12 economic measures in the list of Lower Chamber’s priority bills for floor and committee deliberations.

“I have explicit instructions from Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. We have to prioritize these 12 bills that were endorsed by Secretary Sonny Dominguez as part of the legislative priorities of the Department of Finance,” Romualdez said in a statement.

He noted that seven of the 12 economic measures are “in various stages” of  committee deliberations. These include the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Services Separation, Retirement, and Pension Bill;  Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Bill; Coconut Farmers Trust Fund Bill; Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission Bill; Warehouse Receipts Bill; National Disease Prevention and Management Authority Bill; and the National Land Use Bill.

Five bills remain under period of interpellations in plenary, the House leader said. The list includes House Bill (HB) No. 7749 or the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE), HB 7425 or the Digital Transactions Value Added Tax, HB 7406 or Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Program, HB 6135 or Fiscal Mining Regime, and HB 7425 or Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law).

“These legislative imperatives, according to Secretary Dominguez, are needed to help ensure that the economy recovers quickly from the corona-induced crisis in a strong, sustainable, and resilient manner,” Romualdez said.

President Duterte’s economic managers initially endorsed 22 priority measures to 18th Congress. Of these, 10 measures had already passed the House of Representatives, but remain pending in the Senate, Romualdez noted.

“I have no doubt that the House of Representatives will be able to pass all these measures before the onset of the election fever next year. We are committed in helping our economic managers set in place the bold reforms that the Duterte administration has started to keep the economy strong and resilient,” he said.

The chairperson of the influential House Committee on Rules took the opportunity to thank his colleagues for their “work ethic” and for working relentlessly to ensure the passage of President Duterte’s priority measures.

Among the 10 economic measures that were already passed by the House were the HB 4157 or Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Bill; HB 6816 or Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Bill; HB 6654 Converting the Insurance Commission into a Collegial Body; HB 6768 or the Financial Consumer Protection Bill; HB 6136 or the Motor Vehicles User Tax; HB 6134 or Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing Systems Act; HB 300 or Foreign Investment Act Amendments; HB 78 or Public Service Act Amendments; HB 59 or Retail Trade Liberalization; and HB 6927 or E-Government Act.

“Once these measures were approved by the Senate and enacted into laws, we expect the Philippines to keep its status as one of the emerging economies in the world in terms of financial strength and economic resilience,” Romualdez said in closing.