Leslie Gatpolintan, PNA | September 23, 2017, 4:06 PM
President Duterte presides at a meeting at Malacañang Palace in Sept. 5, 2017 file photo. MALACANANG PHOTO VIA PNA
MANILA – The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) has agreed to put greater focus on curbing corruption in the procurement process.
“Corruption puts a heavy toll on the government and the services it provides to the public,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, the head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the LEDAC secretariat, told the Council during their meeting on Wednesday.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez updated the body that he had discussions with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on how to move forward with the amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA).
They agreed that the Government Procurement Policy Board shall soon submit to the legislature the necessary amendments to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the GPRA.
Alvarez said the House of Representatives would no longer pursue deliberations on the pending bills that seek to amend the GPRA, if the amendments to the IRR would be sufficient.
Pernia also shared anti-corruption measures outlined in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017–2022, the country’s blueprint for development. The measures include upgrading of anti-corruption agencies in the government, like the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Justice and Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Pernia underscored the importance of “drastically reducing bureaucratic red tape by simplifying regulations and making them more transparent to minimize the opportunities for corruption.”
He added that one of the major determinants to ensure success in implementing corruption reform measures is “strong leadership and management.”
For his part, Diokno said there should also be “respect for the judiciary.”
Apart from anti-corruption measures, the LEDAC also discussed the resurrection of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and other priority bills during its meeting on Wednesday.
The body agreed to consider the new BBL as drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee, which was transmitted by the Office of the President to both Houses of Congress last Aug. 14, 2017, for authorship.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon said the Senate minority would support the BBL.
The proposed BBL seeks to create a new autonomous political entity, known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao.
On tax reform, meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos Garcia Dominguez III asked the Senate to consider adopting the House version of the tax reform bill, or House Bill 5636 on Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which is expected to yield the government’s revenue target.
Dominguez asked President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the adoption of the House version of the TRAIN bill in the Senate as urgent, to which the President agreed.
The Senate ways and means panel late on Wednesday adopted its version of TRAIN, sponsored by committee chairman Juan Edgardo Angara.
Angara touted the “inclusive” feature of the Senate panel version, claiming the portions amending income taxes would result in “99 percent of income taxpayers” getting bigger take-home pay.
The LEDAC is a widely represented consultative and advisory body to the President on economic and development matters, aiming the integration of the legislative agenda with the national development plan. With a report by InterAksyon