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Speaker vows House backing of President’s 3 critical issues

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Speaker Martin G. Romualdez on Friday said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can count on the support of the House of Representatives in addressing the three critical issues that he raised at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

In his opening remarks before the APEC CEO Summit, President Marcos said economies in the Asia-Pacific must work together for structural and policy innovations to solve food insecurity, strengthen the global health system, and take stronger action on climate change.

The Chief Executive noted that addressing these three critical issues is key to enabling rapid economic recovery and growth in a manner that creates jobs, includes more people in the mainstream, and reduces poverty and inequality.

“We totally agree with the President’s assessment that these issues present serious obstacles on our path to recovery. He can count on the unwavering support of the House for the passage of measures addressing these issues of concern,” Romualdez said.

Many of the priority measures adopted during the first meeting of the Legislative Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC), Romualdez said, would contribute towards addressing the issues of concern.

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Romualdez cited the Department of Water Resources Bill, Land Use Act, and the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries bill, as measures that would help revitalize the country’s agricultural sector and enhance productivity.

In urging the APEC economies to address the three critical issues, President Marcos noted that recovery efforts have been stymied by soaring prices, supply chain bottlenecks, and serious geopolitical conflicts.

To prevent the situation from worsening, the President said that food security must be a top priority for all governments.

Romualdez also said the House will ramp up efforts to fulfill its commitment to provide the legal framework for the digital transformation of government and private transactions to foster economic recovery and spur growth.

During President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 29th Leaders’ Meeting (AELM), he cited the need to narrow the digital divide among the region’s economies to open more opportunities for cross-border trade and investments and foster inclusive growth.

Noting that e-commerce and digital trade are key drivers of economic growth in the Asia Pacific Region, the Chief Executive said the Philippines continues to attach significance to building an enabling digital economy environment.

“We are well on our way in our commitment to support measures that would hasten the country’s digital transformation to enable the government to provide faster and more efficient service to the public and ensure safe and secure digital commercial transactions,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez noted that the House Committee on Trade and Industry has already approved a consolidated version of the proposed Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law, which is among the 20 priority measures the President mentioned in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The bill proposes to create an E-Commerce Bureau to regulate internet commercial activities and protect consumers who engage in online transactions.

“We are also working equally hard for the passage of the proposed e-Government and e-Governance Act, which were also among the priority measures President Marcos enumerated in his SONA,” Romualdez said.

Last week the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology held its technical working group to consolidate and fine-tune the provisions of the proposed e-Governance Act and e-Government Act.

Romualdez is the principal author of House Bill (HB) 3, or the proposed E-Governance Act of 2022.

His co-authors of the measure are House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” A. Marcos, and Tingog Party-list Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

The Speaker said President Marcos did very well in his initial outing at the APEC Summit, earning the respect of the business leaders in the region.

Romualdez noted that during the panel discussion, World Economic Forum founder, Prof. Klaus Schwab, and Global Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited Robert Moritz, were seen nodding in agreement most of the time with the insights and points raised by President Marcos.

“I think the President does very well in these types of fora where there are exchanges, and in his insights into the conditions in the Philippines whether it be economic or even political,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez added that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was part of the President’s delegation, was clearly satisfied with the performance of the Chief Executive.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte shared Romualdez’s view, noting that President Marcos’ trip to Bangkok for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit is expected to bring the Philippines closer not only to its ASEAN neighbors but to other countries as well.

Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party, commended the President’s active participation in the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and the 17th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Cambodia along with his bilateral meetings with country leaders on the sidelines of the four-day events.

“Mr. Marcos had turned the international spotlight on a broad range of issues that affect the Philippines and the rest of the region such as attaining food security towards self-sufficiency and ensuring prosperity and maritime security,” Villafuerte said.

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