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These are the 19 measures Marcos Jr. asked Congress to pass

Philstar.com
These are the 19 measures Marcos Jr. asked Congress to pass
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr delivers his first State of the Nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 25, 2022.
Aaron Favila via AFP / pool

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday laid out legislative measures he hopes that Congress will pass, including a long-delayed bill to regulate the use, management and development of land and water resources.

National Government Rightsizing Program

President Marcos on Monday batted for rightsizing the government, which he said would "enhance the government’s institutional capacity to perform its mandate and provide better services, while ensuring optimal and efficient use of resources."

"Rightsizing" has been done by previous administrations and talk of reorganization under the Marcos Jr. administration has raised concerns of mass layoffs of rank-and-file government workers.

Although the labor department has allayed fears that reorganization will necessarily mean loss of jobs, Marcos said the program will entail the "merger, consolidation, splitting, transfer, and abolition of some offices."

Rep. Ralph Recto (Batangas), a former socioeconomic planning chief and former chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said on Tuesaday that "rightsizing would mean downsizing the personnel complement in some agencies but upsizing them in many."

RELATED: CSC says ready to help state workers affected by streamlining of bureaucracy

Budget Modernization Bill 

Marcos Jr. said the Cash-Based Budgeting System should be institutionalized "to strengthen fiscal discipline in the allocation and use of budget resources by ensuring that every peso budgeted by the government would lead to the actual delivery of programs and projects."

Cash-Based Budgeting, which was adopted by the Duterte administration in 2019, makes appropriations available for obligation and disbursement only until the end of each fiscal year and obligations that the government incurs must be implemented within that fiscal year.

The Department of Budget and Management said in 2019 that this was better than obligation-based budgeting because it would mean a more disciplined and focused implementation and payment period for projects.

Tax Package 3: Valuation Reform Bill 

Marcos Jr. said the bill would establish real property values and valuation standards across the country and develop a Real Property Information System that would collect and keep information on real estate transactions and declarations.

Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA) 

Marcos Jr. said the bill will "seek to reform the taxation of capital income and financial services by redesigning the financial sector taxation into simpler, fairer, more efficient and a revenue neutral tax system." 

E-Government Act 

  • Provides for the establishment of the E-Government Master Plan which shall cover all e-government services and processes. 

Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law 

Marcos Jr. is calling for passage of a law "to establish an effective regulation of commercial activities through the internet or electronic means to ensure that consumer rights and data privacy are protected, innovation is encouraged, fair advertising practices and competition are promoted, online transactions are secured, intellectual property rights are protected, and product standards and safety are observed."

Earlier this month, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Rep Ferdinand Alexander Marcos (Ilocos Norte) and members of Tingog Sinirangan party-list filed a bill seeking to create an e-Commerce Bureau. The bill "seeks to promote an environment founded on trust among consumers and merchants as a means to increase the number of e-commerce participants, and ultimately achieve sustainable growth."

Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) 

The proposed bill "seeks to provide financial assistance to distressed enterprises critical to economic recovery through programs and initiatives to be implemented by the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and Philippine Guarantee Corporation for purposes of addressing liquidity or solvency problems of MSMEs and strategically important industries, encourage their continued operations and maintain employment. 

Medical Reserve Corps

If passed into law, a Medical Reserve Corps will be created under the Department of Health's Health and Emergency Management Bureau. The corps will be made up of doctors and medical school graduates as well as registered nurses and licensed allied health professionals.

The creation of a medical reserve corps was a priority bill of President Rodrigo Duterte. The House of Representatives passed a bill for it in 2021 and the Senate worked on three similar bills.

National Disease Prevention Management Authority 

Bills for the creation of the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), attached to the Department of Health, were filed in the 18th Congress. Speaker Romualdez has refiled the bill for it in the 19th Congress.

According to a report by The STAR, the proposed "Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control Act" is a consolidation of 13 House bills establishing the CDC that were referred to the House committee on health during the previous 18th Congress.

Creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines 

The creation of a Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines was a priority measure that then-President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his final State of the Nation Address in 2021. Marcos Jr. wants the virology institute as an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology and all functions related to virology will be under its jurisdiction.

Department of Water Resources 

The creation of a Department of Water Resources had been proposed as early as 2019 to address concerns over water shortages. Senate Bill 195, filed by then-Sen. Manny Pacquiao, sought the creation of a government deparmtent that would "holistically integrate all measures designed to ensure the availability and quality of water, and synchronize all the acts of all government agencies that have water-related functions."

Marcos Jr. said Monday that a water department would adopt the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) as the strategic framework for national water management, policymaking and planning. 

Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension

The president said this system will grant a monthly disability pension, in lieu of disability benefits provided under existing laws, for military and uniformed personnel retired by reasons of disability. 

E-Governance Act 

A law that will promote the use of internet, intranet and other ICT to provide opportunities for citizens. 

National Land Use Act 

Passage of a National Land Use Act has been pending since before the Duterte administration, but legislation that would, as Marcos Jr. said Monday "provide for a rational and holistic management and development of country's land and water resources" and compel land owners and local government units to ensure sustainable development on their land has always faltered at the committee level.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 1522, or the National Land Use Act of 2017 during the Duterte administration. The bill is also known as the act “instituting a National Land Use policy, providing the implementing mechanisms therefor, and for other purposes.”

Zubiri, who chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources during the 15th Congress, said then that the bill provided guidelines for the use and management of "agricultural lands, forestlands and watersheds, coastal zones, mineral lands, energy resource lands, settlements development areas, industrial development areas, tourism development and heritage areas."

National Defense Act 

Marcos Jr. wants the National Defense Act of 1935 amended and updated "to provide for a change in the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is more responsive to current and future non-conventional security threats to the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty."

Mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP) 

A hot topic during the Duterte presidency, Marcos Jr. has revived talk of making military training mandatory in senior high school.

"The aim is to motivate, train, organize and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations," he said.

Opponents of the proposal have raised issues of corruption in the 2000s that led to enrolment in the Reserve Officers Training Corps being made optional, outdated training curricula and the risk of abuse. The proposal has been popular since the Duterte administration as Filipinos clamored for "discipline" but bills to make ROTC mandatory again have not prospered in Congress.   

Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry 

Marcos Jr. said the proposal "primarily seeks to foster the development of the Midstream Natural Gas Industry in a bid to strengthen Philippine energy security by diversifying the country’s primary sources of energy and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewable energy" 

Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA

  • Improve the implementation of the law’s provisions and enhance its effectiveness to address high cost of electricity, alleged market collusion, and insufficient power supply.  
  • Restructure the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) to foster accountability and improve the commission’s government system that would ensure consumer protection and in enhancing the competitive operation of the electricity market. 

Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law 

Improve the implementation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Program and to be able to direct the desired outputs and outcomes in line with the strategic development targets of the country.  

Specifically,  the amendments seek to: 

a.  Address the ambiguities in the existing law; 

b. Address the bottlenecks and challenges affecting the implementation of the PPP Program; and, 

c. Foster a more competitive and enabling environment for PPP. 
 

FERDINAND MARCOS JR

NATIONAL LAND USE BILL

SONA 2022

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