Economic Charter change absent in Escudero, Romualdez talks

Delon Porcalla, Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Philstar.com
Economic Charter change absent in Escudero, Romualdez talks
Senate President Francis Escudero meets Speaker Martin Romualdez on June 13, 2024.
Facebook / Chiz Escudero 

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Francis Escudero and Speaker Martin Romualdez, in their first official meeting, only discussed legislation aimed at lowering rice prices and they remained silent on the issue of economic Charter change.

“A key focus of the meeting was the amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law, identified as a top priority,” Romualdez said in a statement.

House Bill 10381, which would strengthen the government’s buffer stocking authority and restore some functions of the National Food Authority, aims to provide “quality affordable rice to Filipinos and increase the income of Filipino farmers,” he added.

The Escudero-Romualdez meeting listed several priority measures, but Resolution of Both Houses 7 approved by the House was notably absent, including its Senate version, Resolution of Both Houses 6.

Romualdez is confident that with their meeting, the Marcos administration’s priority measures that have been passed by the House will eventually be signed into law.

Escudero said their meeting was “productive and encouraging.”

“This initial engagement was an essential step in re-establishing a strong and collaborative relationship with the House leadership, particularly after a period of strained relations between the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he added.

They agreed to set aside differences following the word war between the two chambers over the proposed Charter change through people’s initiative under the leadership of then-Senate president Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Escudero said he looked forward to meeting Romualdez again, in preparation for President Marcos’ third State of the Nation Address in July.

The legislature is on recess after adjourning the 19th Congress’ second regular session last May 22.

It will resume on July 22 for the third regular session.

Escudero and Romualdez also discussed the 20 House-approved priority measures of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council, measures identified in the 2023 State of the Nation Address and the common legislative agenda.

The House has approved 56 of 59 measures identified in the CLA, with the remaining measures — Electric Power Industry Reform Act amendments, National Defense Act and Budget Modernization Bill — still under consideration.

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