House to push bills for digitalization

TO enhance gains achieved in Davos, the leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday vowed to work for the speedy passage of measures to ramp up digitalization that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. highlighted in the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a key component in sustaining the country’s growth momentum.

“Upon the resumption of the session, among the top priorities of the House is the passage of the E-Government and E-Governance Act, which would help accelerate our digital transformation to fuel growth momentum,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

“The House of Representatives remains committed to pass the priority legislations of President Marcos, including measures for digitalization in both government and private transactions that would bolster efficiency, productivity, and security,” Romualdez said.

“Establishment of the framework for digital transformation will undoubtedly help to enhance the prospect of the Philippines as an investment hub that President Marcos has successfully built up in Davos,” added the Speaker, who is part of the official delegation of President Marcos to the WEF.

In his opening remarks at the Country Strategy Dialogue on Tuesday, Marcos stressed the importance of digitalization as a key driver for the long-term development and economic transformation of the Philippines to the post-pandemic global economy.

In his one-on-one dialogue with WEF President Borge Brende, Marcos pointed out the immense potential of digitalization to boost economic growth.

The digital transformation agenda also received another boost as WEF founder and executive chairman Professor Klaus Schwab invited the Philippines Tuesday to join a center the WEF is establishing, geared at working and sharing the newest technologies that could help countries develop economically.

Before the House adjourned for the Christmas break, Romualdez noted that it had fulfilled its commitment to pass propeople measures, including the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill, the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023, and 20 other priority bills of the Marcos administration.

However, Romualdez said the House will work equally hard for the passage of the remaining priority bills of President Marcos, particularly those included in the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) adopted by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

He was referring to the priority measures, aside from the E-Governance and E-Government Act included in the CLA: 1. The Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry, 2. Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), 3. The Unified System of Separation, Retirement, and Pension, 4. The National Land Use Act, 5. The National Defense Act, 6. The National Government Rightsizing Program, 7. The Budget Modernization Bill, 8. The Department of Water Resources, 9. Establishing the Negros Island Region, 10.Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers, and 11. The Establishment of Regional Specialty Hospitals.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said he is buoyed by the interest generated by the Maharlika Investment Fund among the Davos participants.

“With the keen interest shown by investors and policymakers alike on the Maharlika Investment Fund, I believe we would be well on our way towards establishing a sovereign wealth fund to support the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects, particularly in energy and agriculture,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez is the principal author of House Bill (HB) No. 6608, creating the MIF, which was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on December 15, 2022 and was transmitted to the Senate on December 19, 2022.

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