By Genalyn Kabiling
To facilitate the swift passage in Congress, President Duterte has agreed to certify as urgent the bills seeking the creation of the Bangsamoro region and the implementation of comprehensive tax reform program.
The President made the endorsement of the two priority bills during a meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) in Malacanang last Wednesday.
“Among a number of items discussed, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Finance Secretary presented updates on the status of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN), respectively,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
“In the course of the discussion, the President agreed to certify as urgent the proposed measures on the BBL and TRAIN,” Abella said.
The President earlier committed to support and “husband” the congressional approval of the BBL, which he described as the legal instrument to lay the foundation of lasting peace in Mindanao. He said it was a significant step to end the centuries of hatred, mistrust and injustice that cost and affected the lives of Filipinos.
The new draft bill aims to form the Bangsamoro entity replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that will have political and fiscal autonomy.
The proposed tax reform program, on the other hand, aims to reduce personal income tax rates while imposing new or additional taxes on certain consumption.
It seeks to generate funds for the country’s massive infrastructure program.
Apart from the proposed BBL and TRAIN, the President and other LEDAC members tackled the amendments to Government Procurement Reform Act and other updates on the common legislative agenda.
The proposed creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) was also included on the LEDAC agenda.