Duterte urges Congress to pass priority bills

MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on the 18th Congress to pass pieces of priority legislation concerning major tax reforms, salary increases, national land use policy, and new departments, among others.

In delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte urged Congress to pass the proposed National Land Use Act to put in place a policy that will address competing land requirements for food, housing, businesses, and environmental conservation.

A science-based national land-use plan would serve as the basis for the LGUs (local government units) in crafting respective development plans and help disperse economic activities to the countryside, Duterte said.

The dispersion of economic and business activities to Visayas and Mindanao is not just a campaign promise, it is an economic imperative and a key to our country's sustainable and equitable development, Duterte added.

He also called for the immediate passage of the second package of the comprehensive tax reform program or the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher-quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill.

The TRABAHO bill seeks to gradually lower the corporate income tax, as well as rationalize tax incentives.

It will energize our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and encourage them to expand their business and hopefully generate 104 million jobs in the coming years. The MSMEs hold the promise of raising a lot of Filipinos, Duterte said.

I am also asking Congress to pass the remaining packages of my administration's tax reform program and the bills that would further raise excise tax on tobacco and alcohol, he added.

Duterte said it is time for Congress to approve the proposed Salary Standardization Law, which is intended to increase salaries of national government workers, including teachers and nurses.

The Chief Executive also appealed for the passage of the government rightsizing bill to reconfigure the existing Metro Manila-centric bureaucracy and streamline government systems to deliver services without delay and within a short timeline.

Also included in his priority list are the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience, Department Resources, as well as the creation of a fire protection and modernization program. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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