Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said the next administration needs a focused 20-point agenda to ensure a strong and fast recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic onslaught.
Salceda, chairman of the House ways and means committee, said the agenda should be be led by a new “agricultural revolution, science and technology – research and development, and a digital transformation with a national broadband network.”
Addressing the recent ‘10th Arangkada Philippines: Pathways to a Better Future’ forum of the Joint Foreign Chambers, Salceda also called for the enactment of pending vital legislations, including the amendments to the Public Service Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Ease of Paying Taxes Act or EOPT, all aimed to boost the country’s bid for more foreign direct investments.
Topping his proposed agenda is what he termed as the ‘Second Agricultural Revolution,” with government support that includes farmer and land consolidation, and condonation of agrarian reform loans. He stressed the need for a strong agriculture program that would ensure food supply and price stability as the country recovers, especially since agriculture “has been the most undercapitalized industrial sector in the country.”
He said the Agri-revolution should also “ease many of the self-imposed restrictions in the country’s agriculture sector while investing in its development…” Science and Technology and Research and Development for Change or S4CP and “Digital Transformation and a National Broadband,” is second and third in Salceda’s list.
The others are: 4) Education: Learner nutrition, Teacher empowerment, Optional K-12, Stronger ALS; 5) TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) – Skills over College Diplomas, Meister schools; 6) Filipinos on the Move – Rural Infrastructure; 7) Mass Public Transport; 8) Indigenous Renewable Energy; Healthcare Reforms—Health for All; 9) Quality Housing for All; 10) Universal Basic Income through UCT (Unconditional Cash Transfer), TUPAD and Unemployment Insurance and Sustainable Livelihood.
The agenda also include 11) Rule of Institutions, rules-based, science-based, data-driven; 12) Breaking down oligarchs and cartels; 13) MSMEs of the Future—Business Incubation, India model of fund-of-fund, and Entrepreneur class; 14) ‘Rurbanization’–Countryside Development and Optimizing Devolution; 15) BBB for Creative Industries (Korean Model); 16) Stronger Foreign Relations with US, India and Israel, ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and Australia, and optimized economic ties with China; 17) Modernizing Public-Private Partnership beyond Infrastructure; 18) A Tax System for the 21st Century – Reforms against tax evasion and shifting; 19) Deeper and broader capital and financial market; and 20) Modern and credible national security—Responding to emerging and unconventional threats.
House Bill 9955, which Salceda filed in the lower house, seeks to strengthen farmers' land ownership in the country and boost investments, remove many of the flaws and hindrances to growth in the agriculture sector. The House passed his S4CP bill (HB 10154) which is now now pending in the Senate. The S4CP aims to help ensure a conducive ecosystem for scientific and technological development in the country, as global wealth becomes increasingly built on technological advances.
Salceda noted that businesses, jobs and learning institutions started to shift to the use of the internet during the long lockdowns which also helped the world realize the intrinsic value of the online world.