Philippines: NEDA lists priority bills for 18th Congress

  • As the country elects new lawmakers on 13 May 19, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has identified several priority measures to be proposed for inclusion in the legislative agenda.
  • Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said among the pieces of legislation the economic team wants taken up in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) with the 18th Congress are the creation of an apex body for water regulation, liberalization of the sugar industry, and exemption of line-itemized government projects from the election spending ban.
  • Also in the priority list is the passage of amendments to the Services Act that will pave the way for the liberalization of investments in utilities as the current law prohibits majority ownership by foreign entities in public utilities.
  • This is expected to address the suboptimal use and poor management of the country’s water resources, the result of fragmented regulation of water supply and usage.
  • The proposed removal of constraints in the importation of sugar comes in the wake of the recent enactment of the law that liberalizes the importation of rice. Pernia said earlier that the high price of sugar in the country is preventing several industries – like food manufacturing – from becoming competitive.
  • Economic managers would also push for the amendment of the Omnibus Election Code to automatically exempt projects itemized for funding under the national budget so implementation would not be hampered by the election spending ban.

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