Philippines: Tax reform, national ID, BBL top Senate priorities – 25 Jul 2017

  • The Duterte administration’s tax reform program, the national ID system, amendments to the Constitution and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be among the priorities for approval in the Senate.
  • In his message on 24 Jul 17 at the opening of the second regular session of the 17th Congress, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the Senate’s higher trust and approval ratings based on latest surveys meant greater expectations from the public that senators will work harder.
  • Pimentel said the Senate would ease the burden of workers and middle-class Filipinos while ensuring that all government programs remain funded through the administration’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).
  • Pimentel said the Senate would also speed up the approval of the BBL, which President Duterte is expected to certify as urgent. The chamber will also resume in earnest deliberations on various proposed amendments to the Constitution, including the shift to a federal system of government and easing restrictive economic provisions.
  • Pimentel and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, however, said the bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty is not in the list of priorities but will be tackled “in the regular course of business.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said his bloc is generally supportive of the legislative priorities as well as the proposed budget for 2018.

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