Business community to lawmakers: Complete key reform bills before embarking on election campaign
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MANILA - The business community has called on legislators to pass key economic reform bills before the 15th Congress goes on break for the mid-term elections.
The country's most prominent business orgainzations on Tuesday said there is a "growing reform momentum in the Philippines," which could be sustained if Congress would approve pending bills within its remaining three-week session starting on January 21.
The following measures already passed the House and are awaiting Senate action:
• Anti-Money Laundering Act amendments;
• Direct Remittance of Local Government Share in National Wealth Taxes;
• Enhancing the Curriculum of Basic Education (K to 12);
• Insurance Code amendments;
• Institutionalizing the National Land Use Policy;
• Amendments to several laws on professions to allow foreign reciprocity (Criminology, Environmental Planning, Forestry, and Pharmacy);
• Rural Bank Act amendments;
• Sustainable Forest Management bill;
• Universal Healthcare Coverage; and
• Whistleblowers Protection bill.
Meanwhile, the following bills had passed the Senate and are awaiting House action:
• Design Council bill; and
• Freedom of Information bill.
Last but not least, the Anti-Trust bill has yet to progress in either the Senate or House.
The joint appeal was issued by the following business groups: American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Financial Executives of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Multinational Regional Headquarters, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc.
The business groups also commended Congress for passing the following bills that are now just awaiting the President's signature:
• Anti-trafficking Act amendments;
• Intellectual Property Code amendments;
• Tripartism, Conciliation and Mediation as a Mode of Dispute Settlement; and
• Removal of Common Carriers Tax and Gross Philippine Billings Tax.