President hands Congress 20 priority measures to be passed by Dec

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved 20 bills as part of the priority measures of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) that he wanted to be passed by Congress by December this year, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Wednesday.

Marcos approved 18 past priority bills and two new legislations during the second LEDAC meeting in Malaca?ang on Wednesday.

“We agreed on the first 18 priority bills for passage by December 2023,” Pangandaman said in a phone patch interview.

Among these measures include the Amendments of the Build-Operate’Transfer Law/Public-Private Partnership bill, National Disease Prevention Management Authority, Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law, Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team Act, formerly Medical Reserve Corps, Virology Institute of the Philippines, Mandatory ROTC and NSTP, Revitalizing the Salt Industry, Valuation Reform, E-Government/E-Governance, and Ease of Paying Taxes.

Also being targeted to be passed late this year are the National Government Rightsizing Program, Unified System of Separation/Retirement and Pension of MUPs, LGU Income Classification, Waste-to-Energy bill, New Philippine Passport Act, Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, National Employment Action Plan, and Amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.

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Pangandaman said the two new bills are the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-endorsed Bank Deposit Secrecy and Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (AFASA) bills.

“It will help yung for money laundering cases, problems on terrorism and if there’s court cases really need evidence or documents that will show that there are problems or there is an issue with regards to money, so the Bangko Sentral can open their account,” Pangandaman said referring to Bank Deposit Secrecy bill.

On the other hand, she said the AFASA bill aims to protect consumers from cybercrimes such as phishing and money mules.

“There is one item there that shows you know usually if it’s part of the LEDAC, we expect the Office of the President to issue a certification,” Pangandaman added.

In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said that 18 of the 20 bills were part of the 42 priority legislative measures during the first LEDAC meeting in October 2022.

“Of the 42 bills, three (RA 11934 or An Act Requiring the Registration of Subscriber Identity Module; RA 11935 or the Postponement of Brgy./SK elections and RA 11939 or Amendment to AFP Fixed Term) had been signed into law while three (RA HB 6608 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act, HB 7751 or the Department of Health Specialty Centers Act and HB 6336 or New Agrarian Emancipation Act) are for the President’s signature,” she said.

Garafil said the other priority measures include the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act , National Land Use Act, Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry, Apprenticeship Law, Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System, Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery, Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers, Negros Island Region, Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone, Eastern Visayas Development Authority, Philippine Immigration Bill, Comprehensive Infrastructure Development Master Plan, and, Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers.

“Five bills are in various stages of the legislative process: Budget Modernization Bill, Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, Department of Water Resources, National Defense Act, and, Amendments to the Universal Healthcare Act,” she added.

Speaker Ferdinand Romualdez said of the remaining 36 priority measures from the first LEDAC, they have passed 32 measures on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

On top of the SONA priority bills, several legislative measures are also being proposed for inclusion in the common legislative agenda (CLA).

Pursuant to RA 7640, LEDAC serves as a consultative and advisory body to the President on certain programs and policies essential to the realization of the goals of the national economy.

The CLA is a list of priority legislative measures of the Executive and Legislative branches of government, which the Council has agreed to actively pursue to be passed in Congress.

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