Martin2 House Speaker Martin Romualdez delivers his message during the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Insustry general membership meeting in Makati City. Photo by VER NOVENO

House to pass industry, commerce bills

August 4, 2022 Randolph S. Flores 159 views

Speaker Martin G. Romualdez assures PCCI:

THE House of Representatives will act on the administration’s priority bills related to commerce, and industry before the year ends, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez assured the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, on Thursday.

Romualdez also committed to consult PCCI regarding the priority legislative measures of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Majority of the priority measures spelled out by President Marcos in his SONA are principally authored by no less than your House Speaker so I expect my fellow legislators to act on these bills with dispatch. In fact, I am hopeful that we can approve most of these measures before the year ends,” Romualdez said in his speech during PCCI’s General Membership Meeting at Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City.

“One thing I assure you, though. As stakeholders, you will be consulted in every measure that we tackle especially those involving commerce and industry. Please make your positions very clear on the issues I mentioned earlier as I want all stakeholders to be heard before we pass these measures,” he added.

Romualdez was referring to these priority measures: (1) The Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act; (2) Valuation Reform Bill; (3) Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act or PIFITA; (4) E-Government Act; (5) Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law; (6) National Land Use Act; (7) Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry; (8) Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act; and (9) Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.

The Lakas-CMD President said PCCI’s invitation also came at an opportune time as the House adopted last Monday Concurrent Resolution No. 2, which expresses the chamber’s full support to the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) crafted by the administration of President Marcos, Jr.

“I dare say that the adoption by Congress of the MTFF Concurrent Resolution is a historic one,” Romualdez said. “To my knowledge, this is the first time that our legislators fully committed themselves to a medium-term fiscal plan that will serve as anchor for the annual spending and financing plan of the national government. This— the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework— will serve as our guide in preparing the annual budget for the next six years.”

The Marcos administration designed the 2022-2028 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework to attain short-term macro-fiscal stability while remaining supportive of the economic recovery and promoting medium-term fiscal sustainability. It aims to reinvigorate job creation and poverty reduction by steering the economy back to its high-growth path in the near term and sustain the high— but inclusive and resilient — growth all through 2028.

“The philosophy is simple: efficient collection of taxes especially under a strong economy ensures adequate funding for government programs. In simple terms, the MTFF is a fiscal consolidation and resource mobilization plan.

The objective: in the short run, keep the macroeconomy stable and provide adequate social services; in the medium term, generate ‘more jobs, quality jobs, green jobs,” Romualdez explained.

“We, in the House of Representatives, not only support the MTFF. We are also aligning Congressional initiatives with the economic recovery programs of the National Government,” he added.

The framework contains an eight-point Socioeconomic Agenda aimed towards immediate job creation and poverty reduction. These include the following: (1) Attaining food security; (2) Reduction of transport and logistic costs; (3) Reduction of energy cost to families; (4) Addressing public health concerns; (5) Strengthening of social protection programs; (6) Return to Face-to-Face classes; (7) Enhanced bureaucratic efficiency; and (8) Sound fiscal management

The MTFF also sets macroeconomic targets for the next 6 years, which are as follows: (1) 6.5 to 7.5-percent GDP growth in 2022 and 6.5 to 8-percent annual GDP growth from 2023 to 2028; (2) 9-percent poverty rate by 2028; (3) 3-percent national government deficit by 2028; (4) Less than 60-percent debt-to-GDP ratio by 2025; and (5) Upper middle-income country status for the Philippines, with each Filipino earning at least 4,046 US dollars per year.

Romualdez further expressed his willingness to engage PCCI in serious discussions on how the government and private sector can work together to give flesh to the administration’s economic agenda.

PCCI, according to its site, is “a non-stock, non-profit, non-government business organization comprised of small, medium, and large enterprises, local chambers and industry associations representing various sectors of business, all working together to foster a healthier Philippine economy and improve the viability of business in the community.”