WITH the country’s economy picking up speed, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said Thursday the House of Representatives will work double-time next year to ensure that whatever economic gains achieved would translate to better living conditions for Filipino families.
"We, in the House of Representatives, welcome the good news from our Finance Secretary that the worst is over for the Philippines and better years are expected,” Romualdez said.
"This definitely inspires us to work double-time when we resume session next year, pushing us to legislate more laws needed to further boost the economy and improve the living condition of our people,” he added.
The Speaker was referring to the statement released on Wednesday by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno where he projected faster economic growth for the Philippines in 2023.
Despite a looming global recession, Diokno said the Philippines is still expected to have one of the highest growth rates among six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member economies next year.
“Many institutions and experts have predicted a global recession in 2023, and consequently, downgraded Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) outlook to less than 6%,” Diokno said.
"But an average GDP growth of 6.5% is nothing to be sneezed at: it is still one of the highest, if not the highest, growth rates among ASEAN+6 economies,” he pointed out.
Diokno cited nine reasons for his optimistic projections for our economy’s growth in 2023, four of which were the direct result of acts of Congress, namely: the early approval of the 2023 national budget, early adoption of the first-ever Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) for 2023-2028; a more favorable economic environment that removed barriers to foreign investments, and a strong commitment to expand the “Build, Build, Build” program with enhanced private sector participation.
Romualdez extended his gratitude to his fellow Members of the House of Representatives for acting swiftly on vital legislative measures, which Diokno cited among the major reasons for optimism in the country’s strong economic performance.
It could be recalled that last August 1, 2022, the House adopted Concurrent Resolution No. 2, supporting President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s 2023-2028 MTFF.
The House approved its version of the 2023 national budget on September 28 and ratified the bicameral conference committee report on December 5.
Signed by President Marcos last December 16, Romualdez noted that it was the only budget in recent memory to have been signed in mid-December.
Amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Public Services Act during the 18th Congress shepherded the passage of its enactment into laws by Romualdez who served as the House Majority Leader.
Diokno also cited the swift approval of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the strong international credit profile of the country, a stable and resilient banking system, adequate buffers against external headwinds; a young, tech-savvy, mostly English-speaking labor force, among the factors that bode well for the growth prospects of our economy in 2023.
To help sustain such a growth trajectory, Romualdez had vowed to pass the remaining 12 priority measures of President Marcos Jr. when Congress resumes sessions on January 23, 2023.
Romualdez was referring to the 12 priority measures that the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) adopted as its Common Legislative Agenda (CLA): 1. The Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry, 2. Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), 3. The Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension, 4. The E-Governance Act and E-Government Act, 5. The National Land Use Act, 6. The National Defense Act, 7. The National Government Rightsizing Program, 8. The Budget Modernization Bill, 9. The Department of Water Resources, 10. Establishing the Negros Island Region, 11.
Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers,
12. and The Establishment of Regional Specialty Hospitals.
Before the House adjourned for the Christmas break, Romualdez pointed out that it had fulfilled its commitment to pass pro-people measures, including the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023, and 20 other priority bills of the Marcos administration, 19 of which were included in the CLA.
Romualdez said the House looks forward to the enactment of the 19 priority bills under the CLA that it has passed on third and final reading.
These include the following: 1. Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act or PIFITA (The fourth package under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program or CTRP), 2. Virology Institute of the Philippines, 3. Agrarian Reform Debts Condonation, 4. Philippine Passport Act, 5. Waste-to-Energy Bill, 6. National Disease Prevention Management Authority or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 7. Medical Reserve Corps (HEART), 8. Internet Transaction Act / E-Commerce Law, 9. Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone, 10. Eastern Visayas Development Authority (EVDA), 11. Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill, 12. Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers, 13. Public–Private Partnership (PPP) Act, 14. Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers, 15. Real Property Valuation Reform Bill, 16. Apprenticeship Act, and 17. National Citizens Service Training Program (NCSTP).
Two of the 19 measures under the CLA have been signed into law by the President namely, Republic Act (RA) No. 11934 or An Act Requiring Registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) and RA 11935 or An Act Postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to October 2023.(END)