Aquino asks Congress to swiftly pass 2015 budget, FOI
President Benigno Aquino III has called on Congress to swiftly pass 30 administration priority bills, including the proposed 2015 national budget and the freedom of information (FOI) bill.
The list of the President’s priority legislative measures was transmitted by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
Ochoa, in a recent letter to Belmonte, said the “high impact” legislative bills seek to achieve inclusive growth, promote good governance, enhance social protection, among others.
“These are legislative bills that intend to achieve inclusive growth. More particularly, they are projected to result in a high, sustained and broad-based economic growth that generates mass employment and draws the majority of the people into the economic and social mainstream, reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” Ochoa said.
“It is further hoped that these measures will improve the quality of governance, boost the market’s essential institutional infrastructure, and support an economy that guarantees full, equal and universal enjoyment of all human rights,” he added.
The priority list included the six measures endorsed by the President in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) before the joint session of Congress last Monday. These are the P2.606 trillion national budget for 2015, supplemental budget for 2014 to fund projects previously bankrolled by the Disbursement Acceleration Program, uniformed personnel pension reform bill, Bangsamoro basic law, extended filing of notice of coverage under land reform program, and the joint resolution that will clarify the budgetary items listed in the DAP.
The priority bills related to the economic development and trade are the rationalization of fiscal incentives, amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, amendments to the law on right of way of government infrastructure projects, amendments to the cabotage law, amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) charter, removal of investment restrictions in specific laws cited in the Foreign Investment Negative List, rationalisation of the mining fiscal regime, and the competition law.
The President also pushed for the swift passage of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, amendment to the Human Security Act, revision of the criminal code, and delineation of the Philippine maritime zone/archipelagic sea lanes.
Other proposed measures are the Act Instituting Reforms in Land Administration, National Land Use Act, Delineation of Specific Forest Limits of Public Domain, Water Sector Reform Act, Freedom of Information Act, Civil Service Code Reform, Magna Carta of the Poor, Act Protecting Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, amendments to the anti-enforced disappearance law, Strategic Trade Management Act, amendments to the Ombudsman law, and bill converting Bantayan Island into alienable and disposable land.