Belmonte cites accomplishments of outgoing Congress
(The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. cited yesterday the accomplishments of the outgoing 16th Congress.

He said nationalism guided the work of lawmakers and enabled the government to keep the peace abroad and at home, and move forward in the global economy.

“Nationalism has never been more evident as in the assertion of our legal rights and sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea. Indeed while we are a small nation, we want all nations to see that our love of country is written large,” he said.

He said it was both his honor and privilege to lead the government delegation to The Hague for the oral arguments on the country’s case against China before the International Court of Justice.

He added that nationalism was also the guiding principle in the deliberations on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“The House members ensured that in addressing issues of political and fiscal autonomy, every voice would be heard from the entire political spectrum. All in the spirit, that each and every Filipino will have a place in the new table in the autonomous region to be created. We did not lock anyone out of the process and the lessons will feed into the institutional memory of Congress,” Belmonte stressed.

He thanked House members for addressing the draft BBL in the spirit of openness, and looking at the whole range of positions available.

“It will help us move forward as a nation, as we must, when the 17th Congress convenes in July,” he said.

“What we did in the International Court of Justice and in Congress was to get the process right, and getting the process right is half of the battle won. And in getting the process right for both the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute and the autonomy for the Bangsamoro, the Aquino government and this Congress has kept the peace, abroad and at home,” he said.

He pointed out that peace has enabled lawmakers to examine measures on how on bring in more foreign investments.

“We have moved to assure that in all fields of endeavor, especially in transportation, telecommunications, power and water, we will level the playing field, smash the cartels and ensure better service at lower tariff by passing the Philippine Competition Act,” he said.

He said Congress complemented this by modernizing shipping, lowering shipping costs and ensuring transfer of technology through the Amendments to the Cabotage Law and to firm up tax payments and ensure the best possible tax incentives to investors and tie it up to social results, it passed the Tax Incentive Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA).

In terms of domestic peace, the Speaker said the collective commitment to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro remains steadfast and, confidence building continues among all parties with the support of many foreign governments.

“The BBL is part of the journey towards peace. And the legislative process is a process of give-and-take, of reciprocity if you will, that will now go beyond the life of this 16th Congress,” he said.

He enumerated the other measures lawmakers have passed and which are now awaiting President Aquino’s signature:

• Acquisition of Right of Way of Government Infrastructure Projects

• Amendments to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Administration

• Declaring Large-Scale Agricultural Smuggling as Economic Sabotage

• Creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology

• Overseas Workers Welfare Act Amendments

• Voluntary Election Service

• Extending the Life of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board        

• Providing Emergency Relief and Protection for Children before, during and after Disasters.

 

 

 

ACIRC ACQUISITION OF RIGHT OF WAY OF GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW CABOTAGE LAW CENT COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT CONGRESS INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE NBSP WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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