Aquino to discuss 23 bills on Ledac

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Sunday, February 27, 2011


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is set to discuss 23 proposed legislations when he convenes the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) on Monday.

In a press statement, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. confirmed that additional six bills are added to the initially 17 bills expected to be presented at the very first Ledac of President Aquino.

The six bills include the proposed anti-trust law, protection and security to whistleblowers, amendments to the Witness Protection Program, creation of a water regulatory body, government procurement reforms, and defining the powers and functions of the Department of National Defense.

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President Aquino is urged to prioritize the bill for whistleblowers following investigations on various anomalies surrounding the past administration.

"All the 23 proposals went through benchmarking, goal-setting, and prioritization process during various Cabinet workshops and the succeeding meetings of the Cabinet Clusters," Ochoa said.

"In determining the measures to be included in our priorities, we reckoned with four parameters: people, resources, legal basis and political objectives," he added.

He noted that the priority bills reflect the Aquino administration's 16-point agenda for human, infrastructure and economic development; sovereignty, security and good governance; as well as the targets under the integrated Medium-Term Development Plan.

"The list of administration-backed proposals also includes commitments of President Aquino in his first State of the Nation Address in July last year," added Ochoa.

He said the President is determined to give flesh to the constitutional provisions that prohibit monopolies and penalizing anti-competitive deals, strengthening the law on witness protection and providing security and benefits to whistleblowers.

The Ledac is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Monday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that as stated in the law, the Ledac is composed of 20 members with the President as chairman. The Senate President and House Speaker will also attend the meeting.

She said the rest of the contingent will be composed of other legislators and Cabinet members.

Valte noted that she has no idea if the tensions in Libya will be discussed.

Parts of the 17 priority bills of the President include promotion of fiscal discipline in government-owned or -controlled corporations, reforms in the land administration, and creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Also part of Aquino's legislative agenda are: amendment of the Build Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, extension of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), defining maritime zones, act establishing archipelagic sea-lanes in the country, and amendment of date of the regular elections for elective official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Also included is the rationalization of night work prohibition on women workers, increasing number of years of basic education, defining strategy in identifying the poor, and act authorizing the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects by the private sector.

Also included are the electric power in the Reform Act of 2011, fiscal responsibility bill, water sector reform bill, the strengthening and reorganizing the national food authority, and bill amending the anti-money laundering act.

The legislation for responsible parenthood (RP) is not included in priority bills of Aquino.

Malacañang earlier said the President has not changed his position on Reproductive Health bill.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the RP bill is still being studied and consultations with concerned sectors and stakeholders are still ongoing.

The results from which will be incorporated before coming out with a final version for consideration by Congress, he added.

Also not included in Aquino's priority bills is the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which has been part of the President's campaign promise.

Lacierda said there are number of concerns regarding the FOI bill that need to be studied further.

The 23 priority bills were selected from at least 180 proposed measures earlier received by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office from various departments and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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