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Reforms are sustainable beyond 2016 – Purisima

The Aquino administration is determined to implement additional reforms until 2016 and ensure these governance initiatives are institutionalized and sustainable beyond 2016.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the current administration will continue to take advantage of President Aquino’s strong political capital to pursue much-needed reforms in his remaining term in office.

Purisima said the Aquino administration’s goal is to ensure the good governance agenda is institutionalized and sustained beyond 2016.

“The people have come to know the impact of good governance on their lives as the economy makes huge strides,” Purisima said in one of the sessions of the recent World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA).

As the public appreciates the benefits of good governance, Purisima is hoping for the swift passage in Congress of bills backed by the President.

These legislative measures include the amendment of the charter of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the streamlining of customs procedures, the rationalization of fiscal incentives, and the easing of restrictions on foreign investments.

The bill seeking to amend the BSP charter is aimed to provide the monetary authorities with more flexibility in managing liquidity in the economy. It is also aimed at giving the central bank more teeth in regulating banks.

One of the key provisions in the proposed bill seeks to allow the BSP to trade its own bonds in the capital market. Another seeks to require banks to secure prior approval of the central bank before changes in their ownership structure take place.

The central bank has been consistent in saying that the reform in its charter will ensure the financial entities in the country are well-managed by qualified people.

There is also a bill seeking to streamline customs procedure is aimed to help the Bureau of Customs in its fight against smuggling, while the one seeking to rationalize fiscal incentives seeks to lift  unnecessary tax perks to boost revenue collection of the state.

Another key measure that has been subject of many debates is the easing of restriction on foreign ownership in the country that believes to provide a significant boost to investments and job creation, as well as increasing incomes.

So far, some of the key reforms implemented in the first four years of the Aquino administration include the Sin Tax Reform law that raised levy on alcohol and cigarettes, the Reproductive Health law, the tighter campaign against smugglers and tax evaders, and the reform in the national budget process to have integrity in handling of public funds, among others.

Moreover, infrastructure development has been accelerated under the Aquino administration.

Purisima said that out of over 50 projects included in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, seven have been awarded to winning bidders.

These projects are the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road, the first and second phases of the PPP for school infrastructure project, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Project, the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (MPOC), the automatic fare collection system, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport passenger terminal building.

Purisima said that with the continued pursuit of reforms, the Philippines, which has become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, is expected to generate more gains in the economic and political front.