By Prince Golez
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is elated with the progress of his priority legislative measures, Malacañang said Wednesday.
In a news release, the Presidential Communications Office said that Marcos Jr. hoped that his priority bills would be passed into law to support his development agenda.
In his 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President outlined the priority bills that are critical to the implementation of his plans and programs for the country, particularly the 8-point socioeconomic agenda.
Among those he certified as urgent are the Fiscal Year 2023 General Appropriations Bill, Amendments to Republic Act No. (RA) 11709 (AFP Professionalism), Maharlika Investment Fund, the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps National Service Training Program.
According to the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, 10 of the 20 SONA priority legislative measures had been passed by the House of Representatives and transmitted to the Senate as of January 18.
These measures include the Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act, Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Bill, Tax Package 3: Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act (House Bill No. 6558), Internet Transaction Act or the E-Commerce Law and Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.
The creation of the Medical Reserve Corps, creation of the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines and an amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law are also among the priority legislations.
The remaining 10 SONA priority bills are at the level of the committees in both houses of Congress.
These include Department of Water Resources, E-Government/Governance Act, Government Rightsizing Program, National Land Use Act, Budget Modernization, Natural Gas Industry Enabling Law, EPIRA (RA 9136) Amendments, MUP Pension Reform, and National Defense Act.
There are bills certified as urgent by the President, as well as other Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC)-priority bills that have passed the lower house but are still pending in the Senate.
The LEDAC-priority bills include the New Passport Law, Leyte Ecological Zone, Waste Treatment Technology, Free Legal Assistance for Military and Uniformed Personnel, Eastern Visayas Development Authority, Revised National Apprenticeship Program and the Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers.
The Maritime Industry Authority Regulatory Functions, Amendment to RA 8172 or ASIN Law Amendment, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (for Senate ratification), and Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act are among those being pushed by the Palace in response to Marcos Jr.’s directives.