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Ledac meet boosts chances of proposed federalism, rightsizing of gov’t

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Ledac meet boosts chances of proposed federalism, rightsizing of gov’t

/ 05:36 PM August 30, 2017

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. LYN RILLON / PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Federalism and the creation of new departments topped the legislative agenda of the 17th Congress as discussed in the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting on Tuesday.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said federalism is among the common legislative and executive’s agenda for the legislative mill.

READ: Fariñas says BBL, Cha-cha on top of House legislative agenda

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“Napag-usapan yung mga priority bills ng Executive at saka yung Legislative branch. So far nag-report lang kami na majority sa House of Representatives na ang mga identified priority bills ng Executive and Legislative ay tapos na namin,” Alvarez said.

(The priority bills had been discussed by the Executive and the Legislative branch. So far, we just reported that majority at the House of Representatives had already identified priority bills by the Executive and Legislative and we are done.)

“Ang naaalala ko lang ano, kasi medyo marami, naaalala ko lang na isa yung federalism, na kailangan maumpisahan na talaga natin,” Alvarez said,

(I just recalled, because it was too many of them, I remember that one of those is federalism, which we really need to start the ball rolling.)

He said Congress may constitute itself into a constituent assembly in 2018 to propose amendments in the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for a federal change in government.

READ: Preparations for federal shift to keep Congress busy next year

The House constitutional amendments committee is tackling the proposed draft of the so-called federal charter.

LOOK: House tackles draft on PH federal charter

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In a separate press conference, minority leader Rep. Danilo Suarez of Quezon’s third District, who was present in the Ledac meeting, said the council also tackled the creation of new departments—Department of Housing, Department of Culture, and Philippine Space Agency—and the proposed amendments to the procurement law.

Suarez said he opposed the creation of new departments because it would defeat the purpose of the bill seeking to rightsize the government, a priority measure recently approved by the lower House.

READ: House approves bill rightsizing gov’t to level up delivery of public service 

“Sabi namin, kakapasa lang ng downsizing. Pag mag-create ng bagong department, tatlo ang purpose nila—Department of Culture, Philippine Space Agency, at Department of Housing… Katatapos lang sa third reading yung downsizing ng gobyerno. Tapos magpropose kayo ng tatlong departments,” Suarez said.

(We said, the downsizing had just been passed. If we create new departments, there are three purposes—Department of Culture, Philippine Space Agency, and Department of Housing… Third reading had just been finished and yet you will propose for three departments.)

He said there is no need for a separate Housing department when the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council can just be converted into a department.

In the same briefing, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said there is no need for a Department of Culture when this can just be absorbed into the functions of the Department of Education.

He said the education department should be renamed back to its former title Department of Education, Culture and Sports.

“Hindi kailangan ang Department of Culture, ibalik na lang ang culture sa function ng Department of Education, like it used to be,” Atienza said.

(Department of Culture is not necessary, we should just bring back culture in the function of the Department of Education, like it used to be.)

According to a statement from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the following are the common legislative agenda of the legislative and executive:

  • Federalism
  • Unified National Identification System Act
  • Security of Tenure Bill (End of Endo/Contractualization)
  • National Mental Health Care Delivery System
  • Occupational Safety and Health Hazards Compliance
  • Utilization of the Coconut Levy Fund
  • Comprehensive Tax Reform
  • National Transport Act to address transport traffic crisis
  • Budget Reform Act
  • National Land Use Act
  • Rightsizing of the National Government
  • People’s Broadcasting Corporation Charter Bill
  • Amendments to the Anti-Cybercrime Act
  • Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill
  • Strengthening the Balik-Scientist Program
  • Philippine Qualifications Framework
  • Amendments to Republic Act No. 7718, Otherwise Known as the Build-Operate-And-Transfer (BOT) Law
  • Amendments to the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996
  • Land Administration Reform Act
  • Delineation of the Specific Forest Limits
  • Amendments to the NIA Charter RE: Free Irrigation Act
  • Amendment to Public Service Act
  • Social Security Act Amendments
  • Free Higher Education Act
  • Ease of Doing Business Act/Fast Business Permit Act
  • Government Procurement Reform Act Amendments
  • Enhanced Universal Health Care Act
  • Allowable/Recoverable System Loss Act

Ledac is the highest consultative and advisory body to the President on economic and development matters to integrate the legislative agenda with the national development plan, according to the Neda statement. The President chairs the council, while Neda acts as the secretariat.

Among the common priority measures, the tax reform bill and the rightsizing of government have been approved on final reading in the lower House. The President has also signed into law the Free Higher Education Act. JPV

LIST: Anti-Endo, Anti-discrimination laws top legislative agenda of 17th Congress 

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TAGS: federalism, House of Representatives, LEDAC, legislative agenda, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
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