President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved 11 additional bills aimed at addressing public health, job creation, and economic growth, according to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. Among the new bills is the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), which will be included in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac). The total number of priority measures under the Marcos administration now stands at 42 from the original 31.
The new bills include the “Amending the AFP Fixed Term Bill,” “Ease of Paying Taxes,” “Maharlika Investment Fund,” “Local Government Unit Income Classification,” and “Amendment to Universal Health Care Act,” which have already been sent to the Senate. The other six bills are “The Bureau of Immigration Modernization,” “Infrastructure Development Plan/Build Build Build Program,” “Philippine Salt Industry Development Act,” “Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS),” “National Employment Action Plan,” and “Amendment to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act,” which is under committee/technical working group (TWG) meeting.
The House of Representatives has already approved 23 of the original 31 bills, with the leadership aiming to approve the remaining eight before Congress adjourns the session on June 2. Romualdez said the additional measures “support the President’s Agenda for Prosperity and his eight-point socio-economic roadmap. They are intended to sustain our economic growth, hasten the country’s digital transformation and speed up the delivery of public services to our people, among other objectives.”
The Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) aims to provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with easier access to capital. It will be run by the Department of Finance (DOF) and managed by a private sector fund manager. The DOF will provide seed funding of P10 billion ($198 million) for the MIF, which will also seek investments from state pension funds and other government-owned and controlled corporations.
The MIF is expected to support the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit SMEs hard. The DOF said the MIF would “accelerate the recovery of micro, small and medium enterprises by providing them with a reliable source of funding to support their growth and expansion, as well as to enhance their resilience to future economic shocks.”
Meanwhile, the ease of paying taxes bill aims to simplify the tax payment process for SMEs and individual taxpayers. The bill proposes to reduce the number of tax forms and to allow online payment of taxes. It also seeks to increase the threshold for value-added tax (VAT) registration, from P3 million ($59,000) to P5 million ($98,000).
The other bills cover a range of areas, from modernizing the Bureau of Immigration to developing the Philippine salt industry. The National Employment Action Plan aims to address the country’s high unemployment rate, which stood at 8.9% in January 2021. The plan includes measures such as improving the matching of job vacancies with job seekers and increasing access to training programs.
The 11 additional bills approved by President Marcos Jr. aim to support the country’s economic recovery and address key issues such as job creation and public health. With the House of Representatives aiming to approve the remaining eight bills before Congress adjourns, the Marcos administration is pushing ahead with its legislative agenda to support its vision for a more prosperous and resilient Philippines.