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Death penalty, 24 more bills eyed for passage within 2021
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday finally released the complete list of priority measures that the government wants to be enacted this year.
STAR/ File

Death penalty, 24 more bills eyed for passage within 2021

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is targeting to pass 25 legislative measures within the year, most of which are expected to help the national economy rebound from the effects of the pandemic.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday finally released the complete list of priority measures that the government wants to be enacted this year.

This is part of the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) for the 18th Congress by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), which NEDA chairs.

Last week, Finance chief Carlos Dominguez III said LEDAC has identified the key priority measures but he did not disclose the specific list.

“These bills are crucial in ensuring the country’s economic recovery and in regaining our development trajectory that was held back by the pandemic,” Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and LEDAC Secretariat head Karl Chua said.

“We will continue working with Congress to move the legislative agenda forward and enact these priority legislations within 2021,” he said.

Of the 25 bills, 12 were identified as top priorities which are targeted to be passed by the end of the second regular session in June. The remaining 13 are targeted to be passed before the year ends.

For passage in June includes the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act that aims to rescue strategically important companies with solvency woes.

The government will also pursue the remaining package 3 (Valuation Reform Act) and package 4 (Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act) of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package. These aim to simplify, rationalize and improve the efficiency of the tax system.

Three key bills that will enable the country to attract more foreign direct investment are also included, namely the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act and Public Service Act.

Further, the government wants to pass the tax system for e-sabong or offshore betting stations of licensed cockpits, as well as for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs).

The government also wants to pass changes to the Rural Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing System Act (Agri-Agra Law), the formation of Medical Reserve Corps and creation of the Disease Prevention and Control Authority.

Completing the 12 priority list is the bill that seeks to increase the share of local government units in the national internal revenue taxes.

“As we safely reopen our economy and begin our vaccination program this year, we need to enact these bills to create an enabling economic environment and further strengthen our health care and fiscal system against future pandemics and other threats,” Executive Secretary LEDAC Executive Committee chairman Salvador Medialdea said.

For the rest of the year, 13 bills are targeted for passage, including the revival of the death penalty by lethal injection for drug-related crimes as specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The creation of the Departments of Overseas Filipinos, Disaster Resilience and the Boracay Island Development Authority are also included.

Also included are the Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel Act, National Land Use and Management Act, Internet Transactions Act, Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers Act and National Housing Development Act.

Rounding up the list are the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, Modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection Act, Modernizing the Bureau of Immigration Act and amendments to the Continuing Professional Development Act.
“The pandemic has pulled back our human development gains, but at the same time, it has given us the opportunity to assess how we can bounce back stronger and protect our people from future shocks,” Medialdea said.

“The measures in the CLA will lay the groundwork to ensure that Filipinos will not face the same problems of hunger, job loss and sickness in the future,” he said.

Members of the legislative branch that approved the CLA include Senate President Vicente Sotto, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Sonny Angara, House Senior Deputy Speaker Salvador Leachon, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano.

On the part of the executive branch, approval came from Medialdea, Chua, Dominguez, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and Undersecretary Jacinto Paras of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

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