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Iriga: Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, meanwhile, praised Marcos’ SONA as a speech “cementing his role as technocrat-in-chief”

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Salceda, incoming chair of the House tax panel, said he commits to “begin taking up all the tax-related bills” mentioned by Marcos as soon as they are constituted as a committee.

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“We will be on our feet on day one,” Salceda said.

Fiscal management measures mentioned by President Marcos include the National Government Rightsizing Program, the Budget Modernization Bill, Package 3 of the tax reform on real property valuation and assessment, and Package 4 of tax reform on passive income and financial intermediaries.

At the beginning of his speech, Marcos also mentioned tax administration reforms such as the Digital Economy VAT Law, the Ease of Paying Taxes Act, and reforms against possible undervaluation and misdeclaration of imported goods.

“These are very clear directions from the President, who is head of the governing coalition that the House majority belongs to,” Salceda said.

Salceda said he would be filing a joint resolution on the Medium Term Fiscal Program, which will likely be the basis for the general principles of the budget.

Salceda also thanked President Marcos for his commitment to complete all rail projects already ongoing from the time of previous President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Although it was not mentioned perhaps due to the fact that we are negotiating the terms of the financing, the Bicol Railway is already in the advanced stage of pre-project work, and is an ongoing Build, Build, Build priority. So, I’m thankful for his commitment to finish what PRRD started,” he said.

Quezon Rep. Keith Micah D.L. Tan vowed to pursue the health reform bills, which Marcos outlined in his SONA.

These landmark health reform measures include the establishment of the “Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Act” (House Bill No. 281); “Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act (HB 282); and “Medical Reserve Corps Act” (HB 285).

Tan said the immediate enactment of the CDC into law is urgently necessary as the country, just like most of health systems in the world, is ill-prepared to address the challenges of pandemics such as the Covid-19.

“The bill seeks to modernize the country’s capabilities for public health emergency preparedness and strengthen the current bureaucracy that is mandated to address communicable diseases in the country through organizational and institutional reforms”, Tan said.

To better prepare against public health emergencies, he also pointed out the need to embark on health modernization and institutional reforms.

“We cannot keep on rearranging the boxes in our health organization without capacitating our health personnel and resources. The modernization and reorganization of our health system must go hand in hand to protect the public from health risks”, he said.

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