In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. offered the 19 priority measures he hopes the Congress would pass as he sits in office.
“As I am here today addressing the legislature, allow me now to propose legislation that we would like you to pass in support of these programs,” Marcos said.
1st SONA of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Screengrab from RTVM’s Youtube Livestream.
National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP)
According to Marcos NGRP is “a reform mechanism that seeks to enhance the government’s institutional capacity to perform its mandate and provide better services, while ensuring optimal and efficient use of resources.”
“Compared to previous government reorganization efforts, the NGRP will entail a comprehensive strategic review of the functions, operations, organization, systems and processes of the different agencies, and massive and transformational initiatives in agencies concerned, such as mergers, consolidation, splitting, transfer, and even the abolition of some offices,” he explained.
Budget Modernization Bill
The President said the bill seeks to institutionalize the Cash-based Budgeting System (CBS) which was adopted by the previous administration under Executive Order No. 91, Series 2019.
He also said that the bill aims to strengthen fiscal discipline in the allocation and use of budget resources by ensuring that every peso budgeted by the government 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,” Marcos said.
Tax Package 3: Valuation Reform Bill
Moreover, the President stated that the bill would like to establish real property values and valuation standards across the country, as well as the development of Real Property Information System to keep all real property transactions and declarations in the database.
Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA)
Marcos said that this proposed measure hopes to “reform the taxation of capital income and financial services by redesigning the financial sector taxation into simpler, fairer, more efficient and a revenue neutral tax system.”
The President said that this bill “provides for the establishment of the E-Government Master Plan which shall cover all e-government services and processes.”
Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law
Marcos said that this proposed measure seeks to “establish an effective regulation of commercial activities through the internet or electronic means to ensure that consumer rights and data privacy are protected, innovation is encouraged, fair advertising practices and competition are promoted, online transactions are secured, intellectual property rights are protected, and product standards and safety are observed.”
Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE)
According to Marcos, GUIDE aims to provide financial assistance to distressed enterprises critical to economic recovery through programs and initiatives.
It will be implemented by the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Guarantee Corporation for addressing liquidity or solvency problems of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and strategically important industries, to encourage their continued operations and maintain employment.
Establishment of a Medical Reserve Corps, National Disease Prevention Management Authority, Virology Institute of the Philippines, and the Department of Water Resources
Marcos also pushed to lawmakers the creation of Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) under the Health and Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) of the Department of Health (DOH), as well as the National Disease Prevention Management Authority, Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), and the Department of Water Resources.
Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension
This seeks to grant a monthly disability pension, for military and uniformed personnel (MUPs) who retired by reasons of disability, in lieu of disability benefits being provided under existing laws.
According to the President, E-Governance Act promotes the use of internet, intranet and other ICT to provide opportunities for citizens.
National Land Use Act
This aims to provide for a “rational and holistic management and development of the country’s land and water resources.”
National Defense Act
Marcos Jr. seeks to amend the National Defense Act of 1935 to provide for a change in the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP)
The President also proposed the revival of mandatory ROTC for grades 11 and 12 in all private and public schools, as well as NSTP is tertiary-level educational institutions.
“The aim is to motivate, train, organize and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations,” he said.
Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry
This proposal aims to foster the development of the Midstream Natural Gas Industry and strengthen the Philippine energy security.
Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA (Rep. Act No. 9136)
Marcos said that these amendments aims to “improve the implementation of the law’s provisions and enhance its effectiveness to address high cost of electricity, alleged market collusion, and insufficient power supply.”
He added that it also seeks to restructure the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) to foster accountability and improve the commission’s government system.
Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law
The President said that these amendments seeks to “improve the implementation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Program and to be able to direct the desired outputs and outcomes in line with the strategic development targets of the country.”
Marcos also stated its purposes such as: (1) address the ambiguities in the existing law; (2) address the bottlenecks and challenges affecting the implementation of the PPP Program; and (3) foster a more competitive and enabling environment for PPPs.