• Economic reforms get support of Congress leaders

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    The leaders of both houses of Congress reiterated their full support for economic reforms that were identified by local and foreign business groups in the country as urgent, assuring them that these reforms will be implemented before the 16th Congress ends.

    In early September, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) and local business groups urged legislators to push for business and economic reforms, saying that it will help the country achieve inclusive growth, generate more employment and encourage higher investments.

    “We all want to see in our lifetime a meaningful change in our government, the change that we aspire that would also require us to confront the problems in our political system and undertake equally all these reforms,” said Senate President Franklin Drilon.

    “In the preparation of the legislative priorities of the 16th Congress, we came up with policy interventions that are related to the factors that boost the country’s competitiveness and help make the country more conducive for businesses. We identify reforms that would boost foreign investments and help sectors that generate the most number of jobs,” said House Speaker Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City.

    The JFC and local business groups identified the following as priority reforms: anti-trust measures; customs moder-nization and tariffs act; foreign investment negative list libera-lization; amendments to the Government Procurement Act; mining fiscal reforms; rationa-lization of fiscal incentives; and transparency and accountability in fiscal incentives.

    Businessmen also said that legislators should enact these reforms and amendments as soon as possible, or before 2016.

    Drilon assured businessmen that the proposed reforms will be passed before the 16th Congress ends, adding that soon would be the perfect time to do so, because of the good showing of the country’s economic indicators including the gross domestic product, foreign investments and global competitiveness.

    “For the longest time, our country has been known as the ‘Sick Man of Asia.’ But today, with improved economic output, higher investment grade status, and increasing confidence, the Philippines is one of the most promising countries in the world,” Drilon said.

    “In the part of the House of Representatives, we will continue the discussions that we held in the 15th Congress to pursue these reforms,” Belmonte added.

    “I am positive that after implementing all these reforms, difficult as they are, we can have a nation that is economically and socially developed, and poli-tically clean,” Drilon said.

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