The Duterte administration expects Congress to pass its 12 top priority measures by June this year to enable the country bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) Executive Committee (ExCom) listed 30 measures in the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) for the 18th Congress, of which five have already been passed by the legislature.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and LEDAC Secretariat Head Karl Kendrick T. Chua said 12 measures were identified as top priorities to be passed by the end of the second regular session in June 2021, while the remaining 13 are targeted to be passed within this year.
Among the priorities in the CLA are the imposing amusement tax on digital platform and offshore betting stations of licensed cockpits or “sabong” as well as the establishment of the tax regime of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO).
Other top priority measures are the government financial institutions unified initiatives to distressed enterprises for economic recovery (GUIDE) Act, and the package 3 of comprehensive tax reform package (CTRP) or the valuation reform act.
Likewise, Congress is expected to pass the package 4 of CTRP or the passive income and financial intermediary taxation act (PIFITA), as well as amend the public service act, retail trade liberalization act and foreign investments act.
LEDAC also wants the rural agricultural and fisheries development financing system act (Agri-Agra) to be passed into law, as well as the creation of a medical reserve corps
and a disease prevention and control authority.
The Duterte administration also expects Congress to pass a bill strengthening the local government participation in national development by increasing the share of local government units in the national internal revenue taxes.
“These bills are crucial in ensuring the country’s economic recovery and in regaining our development trajectory that was held back by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chua said in a statement.
“We will continue working with Congress to move the legislative agenda forward and enact these priority legislations within 2021,” he added.
Meanwhile, remaining 13 bills in the CLA are the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos, Department of Disaster Resilience, Boracay Island Development Authority, and the Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel .
Other listed in CLA are the National Land Use and Management Act, Internet Transactions Act, Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers Act, National Housing Development Act, Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act and Modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Act.
Also included are the modernization of the Bureau of Immigration, amendment/repeal of Republic Act 10192, or the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, and the Revival of the Death Penalty by Lethal Injection for Crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
As the country safely reopens its economy and begins the vaccination program this year, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the government needs to enact these bills to create an enabling economic environment.
Medialdea also said these proposed measures will further strengthen the country’s healthcare and fiscal system against future pandemics and other threats.
“The pandemic has pulled back our human development gains, but at the same time, it has given us the opportunity to assess how we can bounce back stronger and protect our people from future shocks,” Medialdea said.
“The measures in the CLA will lay the groundwork to ensure that Filipinos will not face the same problems of hunger, job loss, and sickness in the future,” he added.