THE camp of speakership candidate and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez will hold a caucus today to strategize the swift passage of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s legislative agenda, especially the 2020 national budget.
The lawmakers who are currently in Manila, which represent the coalition of all political parties and influential blocs of the incoming 18th Congress, will participate in the caucus, according to Romualdez’ camp.
The event, which is the first in a series of caucuses for the coalition, will be held at Satin 2 Conference Room of Seda Hotel Vertis North in Quezon City on June 26, 12 p.m.
Romualdez called for a “cohesive working relationship” between Congress and the country’s economic managers to ensure that the 2020 national budget will be approved before the year ends.
As an initial step, Romualdez said he sought a meeting recently with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to find ways to tighten the communication line and coordination between the House of Representatives and the economic managers.
“An overwhelming number of congressmen elected in the 18th Congress are supportive of President Duterte and his legislative agenda. Number one on the list of priority bills, of course, is the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for year 2020,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).
“In consultation with my colleagues in the 18th Congress, all of them agreed to work double time to ensure that the House of Representatives will approve the General Appropriations Bill before November,” said Romualdez, president of the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
Romualdez prodded his colleagues in Congress to back up President Duterte’s efforts in pursuing structural reforms needed to guarantee the country’s economic takeoff.
“We, the incoming members of the 18th Congress, are faced with the important task of pursuing vital economic legislation needed to sustain higher productivity growth. Global industrial giants see a great potential in us, but we just have to work hard to gain their trust and confidence,” said Romualdez.
“The President has issued the marching orders, and we need to follow if we all want to become a prosperous middle-class country free from poverty by 2040. The way I see it, we need to focus more on institutionalizing reforms that will encourage the influx of more investments, the creation of more jobs, improvement in human capital investment, and the building of better infrastructure,” Romualdez added.
The Leyte congressman appealed to his fellow legislators to consider as an urgent task the approval of important legislative measures that reform the country’s relatively restrictive and less competitive economic policies.
He cited in particular the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which are meant to encourage investments in industry and services and boost private construction.
“We also need new pieces of scientific legislation alongside improvements in communication, technology, entry of foreign investors, total expenditure on research and development, easing of start-up procedures, implementation of public sector contracts, knowledge transfer, total public expenditure on education and development and application of technology,” Romualdez pointed out.
“At the same time, we also have to address the urgent concerns of controlling inflation, improving the pay of workers, creating more jobs, fighting criminality, reducing poverty, fighting corruption and enhancing national security,” he added.