House forms 'think-tank' with academics to beef up laws on economy

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
House forms 'think-tank' with academics to beef up laws on economy
Members of the House of Representatives, including House Speaker Martin Romualdez, sign a memorandum of agreement with officials from the Ateneo de Manila University for the creation of a research project, Feb. 7, 2023.
Philstar.com / Cristina Chi

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement with the Ateneo de Manila University to tap the academe in scaling up its research on the nation’s economic woes.

The 11-team research group will be consolidating and analyzing information related to agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and other aspects of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s eight point socio-economic agenda to help lawmakers create “evidence-based” laws.

“This partnership could not come at a more opportune time… While the state of national health emergency has passed, many of our people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and its byproducts on the economy,” said House Speaker Martin Romualdez, who is cousin of the president.

Through the project, research teams will be formed composed of members drawn from the academe and the House’s own Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, the lower chamber’s in-house think tank for budget and policy research. 

While members of the academe are typically invited to share their insights and present data in congressional hearings to iron out the kinks in proposed measures, the partnership will allow academics to “be in the room where it happens” and increase the “usefulness” of their research, Rep. Stella Quimbo (Marikina City, 2nd District) said during the event.

Romualdez added that lawmakers need inputs from academics to "surmount the (current) economic headwinds."  

“Ateneo can greatly help us in this regard not only by providing Congress with timely, credible, useful and policy-relevant technical information for legislation borne from rigorous research, but also by lending their esteemed voices in the discussion of proposed reforms with the end-in-view of educating our people on the need for these reforms,” Romualdez added.

Inflation has yet to be tamed as of January after hitting a record-high of 8.7% year-on-year.

Marcos, prone to speaking of his economic plans in vague and unspecific terms, said in his first State of the Nation Address that his administration will focus on achieving food security, solving the country's energy crisis and improving the country's infrastructure.

Marcos has set the ambitious goal of lowering the country's poverty incidence to 9% by the end of his term, as well as achieving an annual economic growth rate of 6.5 to 8%, which is higher than his predecessor.

The MOA was signed by House Secretary-General Reginald Velasco and ADMU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap, who also represented the university’s Department of Economics and the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development.

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