Duterte asks Congress to pass priority bills to spur economic recovery

Published June 16, 2021, 7:51 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has called for the swift passage of the administration’s priority bills, particularly certain tax reform measures, to help promote economic recovery following the debilitating impact of the pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

Among the administration bills endorsed by the President are the proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program as well as amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act.

“I hope that when both houses of Congress resume sessions this year, priority will be given to the remaining flagship programs of my administration,” Duterte said during the ceremonial signing of four new laws in Malacañang Wednesday, June 16.

“And this will include the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act. I ask Congress to act on these legislative measures so that they may be sent back to my desk for signature at the earliest possible time,” he added.

With the help of Congress, Duterte expressed confidence about advancing the legislative agenda and creating an environment conducive “for our people’s growth and our nation’s progress.”

Duterte also appealed for greater cooperation among government agencies as the administration continued to take “more concrete steps to revive our economy and help our people recover from the effects of the pandemic.” He said a whole-of-nation approach must be followed to ensure an inclusive and seamless response to the challenges facing the nation.

He likewise assured the nation that his government would continue to pursue measures that will “improve and enhance your way of life.” “Together, let us remain partners in securing a more promising future for our beloved country and for the next generation,” he said.

Prior to his speech, the President led the ceremonial signing of Republic Act No. 11549, or an Act Lowering the Minimum Height Requirement for Applicants of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and Bureau of Corrections; RA 11544, or an Act Converting the Municipality of Calaca in the Province of Batangas into a Component City to be known as the City of Calaca, R.A. 11545, or an Act Reappropriating the First Legislative District of the City of Caloocan into two Legislative Districts, and R.A. 11546, or an Act Reappropriating the Province of Bulacan into six Legislative Districts

These laws were signed by the President last month.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, and several lawmakers and Cabinet members were present during the Palace ceremony.

The President, in his remarks, thanked the two houses of Congress for their work in the passage of these laws. He said the new laws showed the “fruitful collaboration” between the legislative and executive branches of government.

“Let me thank the members of Congress for their steadfast efforts in ensuring that my administration’s legislative agenda will be translated into relevant policies and programs that will improve the life of every Filipino,” he said.

“These laws – which open more opportunities for our people to serve in government and enable some of our LGUs (local government units) to render more efficient and inclusive service – are part of our vision of bringing government closer to the people,” he added.

After the event, Duterte was scheduled to attend the farewell call of the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines. He was also expected to hold closed-door talks with Congress leaders about the conduct of the elections in the Bangsamoro region.