The nation is set to attain its economic growth target this year during the first six months of the Marcos administration and is on the road to full recovery, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said on Tuesday.
“We are on the first stage to full economic recovery, and we are marching in the right direction,” he told media persons and businessmen gathered by the business daily Business World for its Economic Forum at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City.
“Judging from interests shown by global businessmen in our international roadshow with the President, the Philippines may soon become the favorite investment destination in Asia. We, in Congress, are committed to bring this goal to reality,” Romualdez said.
The Speaker urged businessmen and the public in general to “stay the course with us and share the benefits of progress and development.”
“The best is yet to come,” Romualdez said.
He said the Marcos administration has crafted an Agenda for Prosperity, which has as its core mission the country’s economic transformation towards inclusivity and sustainability.
“We in Congress are one with the President in this mission,” Romualdez added.
He pointed out that the administration’s economic development objectives are spelled out in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and its eight-point socioeconomic plan, which the House of Representatives had adopted through Concurrent Resolution No. 2 shortly after the 19th Congress convened in July.
“For the first time, the country has a clear 6-year agenda with clearly defined goals,” he stressed.
Romualdez said the economy improved by an average of 7.7 percent for the first three quarters of 2022 and it only needs to expand by 3.3 percent to 6.9 percent this fourth quarter to meet the growth target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.
“Without a doubt, this is because of the Agenda for Prosperity, the sound economic plan of our President and economic managers,” he said.
Romualdez said the “encouraging” economic figures “strengthen our resolve, as lawmakers, to remain fully committed in supporting the Agenda for Prosperity with the necessary legislative measures.”
The Speaker laid out the legislative measures the House has passed and intends to prioritize in support of the administration’s development and social inclusion roadmap.
“On the immediate, our focus is on creating legislation that will help the government boost domestic demand and increase the competitiveness of domestic production to sustain and further accelerate economic recovery,” he said.
Romualdez said the House swiftly approved the proposed P5.268-trillion 2023 national budget, which includes P1.528-trillion for economic services.
Last Friday, a House-Senate conference committee started reconciling the two chamber’s versions of next year’s spending program.
“In the end, the final version will be one that best supports the President’s 8-point socio-economic agenda. We envision the final version as a budget that creates jobs, keeps the macroeconomy stable, and helps keep inflation within a manageable range,” Romualdez said.
To help the administration pursue a sound fiscal policy, he said priority tax administration reform bills have been filed, four of which have passed third and final reading and have been transmitted to the Senate.
The approved measures include House Bill (HB) No. 4339, the fourth and last component of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package. The bill seeks to simplify the taxation of passive income, financial services, and transactions by reducing the number of tax rates from 83 to 58.
“If we are able to enact this package as proposed, we will have completed one of the largest tax reform programs of any country in the world,” the House leader said.
He said his chamber has also approved bills taxing single-use plastic bags and non-resident digital service providers, and the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act.
He enumerated several other proposed laws that the President and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) want Congress to prioritize.
These include the GUIDE (Government Financial Institutions UnifiedInitiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery) Bill,Valuation Reform Bill, Passive Income and Financial IntermediaryTaxation Act, E-Government Act, Internet Transactions Act, NationalLand Use Act, Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry, changes inthe Build-Operate-Transfer law, and amendments to the Electric PowerIndustry Reform Act.
Romualdez said the House intends to approve on third and final reading 15 more bills before Congress starts its Christmas recess on December 17.