MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Monday asked Congress to legislate 19 measures, including the revival of mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) course and the rightsizing of government.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos specified the following proposals:
- National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP)
The President has sought the passage of the government rightsizing program, which he said aims to "enhance the government’s institutional capacity to perform its mandate and provide better services, while ensuring optimal and efficient use of resources."
For Marcos, the measure will comprehensively check which agencies are implementing the same duties and mandates, and would lead "transformational initiatives in agencies concerned, such as merger, consolidation, splitting, transfer, and abolition of some offices."
At the start of Marcos' administration, he had ordered the abolition of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the revamp of the Presidential Communications Operations Office into the Office of the Press Secretary in a bid to streamline the bureaucracy.
- Budget Modernization Bill
The bill aims to institutionalize a "cash-based budgeting system" and make sure that the government's budget "would lead to the actual delivery of programs and projects."
"The full implementation of the CBS is timely and vital as the government executes response and recovery plans post- pandemic," said Marcos.
- Tax Package 3: Valuation Reform Bill
The measure, the President said, aims to provide a database for real property transactions and declarations, as well as indicate the real property values and valuation standards nationwide.
- Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA)
The 4th tax package wants to revamp the taxation in the financial sector into a "simpler, fairer, more efficient and a revenue neutral tax system."
"It also represents to adopt a regionally competitive tax system," he said.
This will "provide for the establishment of the E-Government Master Plan which shall cover all e-government services and processes," Marcos said.
- Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law
The measure wants to protect consumers in online transactions, ensure the safety of products being sold, and make competition fair.
- Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE)
GUIDE, the President said, seeks to aid MSMEs and "strategically important industries" by providing financial assistance to those considered distressed.
The measure would "encourage their continued operations and maintain employment."
This aims to create a pool of licensed doctors, medical students who completed their 4-year course, medicine graduates, registered nurses, and other health professionals.
- National Disease Prevention Management Authority
This measure will establish the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), among the plans that he bared earlier in his speech.
- Creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines
- Department of Water Resources
- Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension
Marcos said the bill, when passed into a law, will provide "a monthly disability pension, in lieu of disability benefits provided under existing laws, for military and uniformed personnel retired by reasons of disability."
- E-Governance Act
- National Land Use Act
- National Defense Act
- Mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP)
Marcos seeks the revival of the ROTC in senior high school or those in grades 11 and 12 in private and public tertiary institutions. Details were so far unclear how this would pan out but education advocates have already opposed the move.
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the death of UST student Mark Chua. He was allegedly killed by course officers after exposing ROTC fund mismanagement.
- Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry
"This primarily seeks to foster the development of the Midstream Natural Gas Industry in a bid to strengthen Philippine energy security by diversifying the country’s primary sources of energy and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewable energy," said Marcos.
- Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA (Rep. Act No. 9136)
Amending the EPIRA law will help address the country's energy problems, according to Marcos. It also seeks to "improve the implementation of the law’s provisions and enhance its effectiveness to address high cost of electricity and the alleged market collusion."
Likewise, it aims to revamp the Energy Regulatory Commission to "foster accountability" and push for the protection of consumers through a competitive energy market.
- Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law
The BOT amendments will help improve public-private partnerships as he seeks to strengthen the sector, said Marcos.
It will also address the law's "ambiguities," problems in the PPP implementation, and create a "more competitive" environment for the sector.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno had said the Marcos administration is planning to shift to PPP to enable the government "enlarge fiscal space" and spend less for projects.