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Survival and recovery

A House that believes health is wealth has its heart in the right place.

Indeed, the process of nation-building cannot proceed when citizens are frail, sickly, unwell.

A nation can only be as stable, secure, and progressive when its people are of sound body, mind, heart and, soul.

Quite thankfully, this is not lost on the pro-active and visionary leadership of the lower congressional chamber.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the House of Representatives is committed to push for the legislative priorities laid out by President Duterte to help achieve the goals in the government’s survival and recovery roadmap amid the coronavirus disease crisis.

Romualdez gave the assurance to members of the US-Asean Business Council during the 2020 Virtual Philippines Business Mission.

“Our President has laid out the survival and recovery roadmap for us to consider. We, in the House of Representatives, are in full support of this plan and are ready to face the challenges spelled out by our President,” he said.

He also rallied support from members of the organization for President’s vision and programs.

“As partners in nation-building, we readily commit ourselves to help realize the concrete plans and approve the proposed legislative measures provided by the President,” the Leyte lawmaker added.

To support the country’s response and recovery efforts, he said the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act seeks to allocate more than PHP160 billion for social amelioration and economic stimulus.

It has already been ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives and is awaiting signature by the President.

Also a top priority measure of Congress, Romualdez said, is the timely passage of the proposed P4.5 trillion General Appropriations Bill for 2021.

The proposed 2021 national budget is higher than this year’s P4.1 trillion budget by 9.9 percent and equivalent to 21.8 percent of the gross domestic product.

He said next year’s budget aims to sustain government efforts towards effectively responding to the coronavirus pandemic by focusing government spending on improving the country’s healthcare systems, ensuring food security, increasing investments in public and digital infrastructure, and helping communities cope and prevail in these trying times.

To attract more investments and improve the business environment in the country, Romualdez cited the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act as “one of the largest economic stimulus measures in Philippine history”.

“The measure seeks to free up nearly P42 billion in business capital in 2020 alone and P625 billion in the next five years, partly due to the slashing of the corporate income tax rate from 30 percent at present to 25 percent,” he said.

“The government may consider this as foregone revenue, but we expect companies to reinvest this amount to recover from the pandemic recession,” he added.

Other priorities include the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act bill, Rural, Agricultural, and Fisheries Development Financing System bill, Internet Transactions bill, National Land Use bill, and the Department of Disaster Resilience bill, among others.