MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - President Benigno S. Aquino III presented on Tuesday 13 additional priority measures to members of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) for inclusion in the administration's agenda this year.
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said the priority bills had been processed and determined by the Cabinet Clusters. Six of the 13 measures had earlier been announced by the President in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.
The new proposed measures, on top of the 22 bills submitted during the first LEDAC meeting last February, are consistent with the administration's policy directions as laid out in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), in pursuit of the Aquino administration's 16-point agenda or Social Contract with the Filipino People.
"We will assess the progress posted by our common legislative agenda since the time we agreed on a shared set of priorities, as well as the need to deliver on our collective commitment to pass these measures at the soonest possible time," Ochoa said.
At the same time, the administration also presented to congressional leaders the proposed P1.816 trillion spending package for 2012 as well as the PDP to rally their support for the timely passage of the budget measure.
"We look forward once again to the early passage of the budget so that the government can build on the progress that has already been made," Ochoa said.
Ochoa thanked the leadership of both chambers of Congress "for their statesmanship and for the cooperation they have extended in forwarding our common legislative agenda. We also want to obtain their input on the other measures we will be proposing during the second LEDAC because pushing this agenda should be a collective, collaborative effort."
Among the 13 proposed measures are the adequate protection for house help, expansion of science and technology scholarship programs, amendments to the Rural Electrification Law, sin tax, amendments to the Human Security Act and the Data Privacy Act, and the responsible parenthood (RP) bill.
The President's proposals also include the expanded consumer protection, reorganization of the Philippine statistical system, amendments to the PTV-4 law, provision for the delineation of the specific forest limits of public domain, stiffer penalties for stealing and tampering with government risk reduction and preparedness equipment, and amendments to the Lina Law or the Urban Development Housing Act of 1992.
According to Ochoa, the Executive Department will also make a pitch for the passage of the priority measures previously submitted to LEDAC. Of the 22 measures earlier proposed, three have been enacted into law, namely the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 (Republic Act No. 10149), Rationalizing the Night Work Prohibition on Women Workers (Republic Act No. 10151) and Resetting and Synchronizing the ARMM Elections with the National and Local Elections in 2013 (Republic Act No. 10153).
The 19 other proposed measures are in various stages of processing and review in the legislative mill.
Ochoa also said that Congress had enacted Republic Act No. 10150, which extended the implementation of the Lifeline Rate to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. This amendment is one of four recommended amendments to the EPIRA Law by the Executive Department.