– Measures to jumpstart economy, cushion impact of COVID pandemic 

THE House leadership has included 12 economic measures in the list of bills prioritized for floor and committee deliberations to help the Duterte administration jumpstart the economy and cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic on the livelihood of ordinary Filipinos.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez said five of the 12 economic measures remain under period of interpellations in plenary while seven are in various stages of deliberation in the committee level.

“I have explicit instructions from Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. We have to prioritize these 12 bills that were endorsed by Secretary Sonny Dominguez as part of the legislative priorities of the Department of Finance,” Romualdez said.

“These legislative imperatives, according to Secretary Dominguez, are needed to help ensure that the economy recovers quickly from the corona-induced crisis in a strong, sustainable, and resilient manner,” Romualdez added.

The Majority Leader noted that the 12 economic measures are what remain of a total of 22 bills that were endorsed as priority measures by the country’s economic managers to the 18th Congress. The 10 other measures had already passed the House of Representatives, but remain pending in the Senate.

The five measures still under plenary deliberation are House Bill (HB) 7749 or the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE), HB 7425 or the Digital Transactions Value Added Tax, HB 7406 or Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Program, HB 6135 or Fiscal Mining Regime, and HB 7425 or Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law).

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Pending under committee deliberations are the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Services Separation, Retirement, and Pension Bill; Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Bill; Coconut Farmers Trust Fund Bill; Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission Bill; Warehouse Receipts Bill; National Disease Prevention and Management Authority Bill; and the National Land Use Bill.

“I have no doubt that the House of Representatives will be able to pass all these measures before the onset of the election fever next year. We are committed in helping our economic managers set in place the bold reforms that the Duterte administration has started to keep the economy strong and resilient,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez thanked his colleagues for working closely with the House leadership in passing the priority measures of President Duterte, particularly those geared to get the economy back on its positive growth trajectory.

“I give full credit to the work ethic of our colleagues in the 18th Congress. They had been relentless in working, from committee to plenary deliberations, even at the height of the coronavirus scare in the first quarter of the year,” he added.

The 10 economic measures that already passed the House were the HB 4157 or Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Bill; HB 6816 or Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Bill; HB 6654 Converting the Insurance Commission into a Collegial Body; HB 6768 or the Financial Consumer Protection Bill; HB 6136 or the Motor Vehicles User Tax; HB 6134 or Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing Systems Act; HB 300 or Foreign Investment Act Amendments; HB 78 or Public Service Act Amendments; HB 59 or Retail Trade Liberalization; and HB 6927 or E-Government Act.

“Once these measures are approved by the Senate and enacted into laws, we expect the Philippines to keep its status as one of the emerging economies in the world in terms of financial strength and economic resilience,” Romualdez said.