By: Julie M. Aurelio – Reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2 Jan 2022
MANILA, Philippines — Several priority reforms are “ripe for picking” that would enable President Rodrigo Duterte to cap his term in 2022 on a high note, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House ways and means panel, said on Saturday.
These priority measures, contained in a document titled “Finishing strong, starting anew in 2022,” range from tax, investment, and agricultural reforms to improvements in universal health care and jobs creation.
The 10 priority legislative and executive reforms that can be achieved before the president’s term ends on June 30, 2022, are:
• economic liberalization through amendments to the Public Service Act to foster competition among industries such as telecommunications
• tax reform by amending the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program; financial inclusion by passing the Passive Income and Financial Intermediaries Taxation Act, and the Fair and Inclusive Credit Act to ensure even the smallest entrepreneur has access to low-interest credit
• agriculture reform to make farms and farmers, fisheries, forestry, feeds, and fertilizers “more modern, well-supported, more viable and sustainable”
• healthcare reform by implementing a single-record, single-patient system in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. using the national identification system and a free national telemedicine hotline to expedite triage and make primary care accessible anywhere
• disaster risk reduction and building back better through the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience and the crafting of a Philippines Resilient Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Program for typhoon-hit areas
• Anti smuggling reforms to combat smuggling in ecozones, illicit trade in excisable products, and to protect domestic agriculture from smuggled fruits, vegetables, and other crops
• Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises by expediting the release of the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan, or a list of industries eligible for tax incentives
• cheaper medicines by expediting importation and release of tax-exempt medicines and allowing public hospitals to make bulk purchases of medicines, and allow the health secretary to negotiate for lower prices; and
jobs from infrastructure by supporting the Department of Public Works and Highways’ appeal to be exempted from election restrictions.