Priority economic bills

September 12, 2019

IN a democratic society, like impoverished and graft-prone Philippines, lawmakers – senators and congressmen - play a crucial role in ensuring the country’s sustainable growth.

This, they will do by approving pieces of legislation, particularly economic bills, aimed at propelling economic growth to greater heights, according to administration supporters.

Thus, Malacanang ought to welcome the House of Representatives’ approval on third and final reading of two administration-backed measures that would help boost the economy.

They are House Bill (HB) No. 304 or “Passive Income and Financial Taxation Act (PIFTA)” and HB No. 300, otherwise known as the “Amendment to the Foreign Investments Act (FIA).”

The swift passage of the two bills was orchestrated by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader and Leyte 1st Rep. Martin Romualdez and Albay Rep. Joey S. Salceda.

“It is the duty of the 18th Congress to help sustain the successes of the President’s programs and projects to continue this momentum for economic takeoff,” said Romualdez, who chairs the rules committee.

Salceda, chairman of the ways and means committee, said PIFTA will “rationalize the taxation of the financial sector so that it becomes simpler, fairer, more efficient, and regionally competitive.”

HB No. 300, on the other hand, seeks to amend the law governing foreign investments in the Philippines.

Under the bill, foreigners may own small and medium-sized enterprises with a minimum paid-up capital of less than $100,000 if it involves advanced technology, or it employs at least 15 direct employees.

Without doubt, the approval of the two bills is good news to President Duterte and his economic managers as well as the people.

Our lawmakers will not only be drawing the ire of the public if they fail to come up with such vital legislation, they also contradict their commitment to uplift the living conditions of the people, particularly the poor.