Mandatory ROTC, bureaucracy resizing, e-government and 16 other priority Marcos bills listed – Manila Bulletin

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. introduced 19 of his administration’s priority bills to Congress in his first State of the Nation (SONA) address on Monday, July 25.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, 2022. (RTVM screenshot)

The list listed by the president included the Mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and the National Service Training Program (NSTP) pushed by Vice President Sara Duterte.

Mandatory ROTC and NSTP Bill seeks to reinstate the ROTC program as a mandatory component of senior high school curricula through grades 11 and 12 in all public and private higher education institutions .

“The aim is to motivate, train, organize and mobilize students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risky situations,” he said.

2. National government resizing program

Marcos also proposed the National Government Righting Program (NGRP). This reform mechanism aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the government to fulfill its mandate and provide better services while ensuring optimal and efficient use of resources.

Compared to previous government reorganization efforts, the President said the NGRP would involve a comprehensive strategic review of the functions, operations, organization, system and processes of the various agencies.

The proposed NGRP will include massive and transformational initiatives in the affected agencies, such as mergers, consolidations, spin-offs, transfers, and even the elimination of certain offices.

“The right-sizing efforts will also involve undertaking a comprehensive strategic review of functions, programs and projects that will cut across various agencies,” he said.

3. Budget Modernization Bill

According to Marcos, the budget modernization bill seeks to institutionalize the cash budgeting system (CBS) under former President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 91.

The proposed bill aims to “strengthen fiscal discipline in the allocation and use of budgetary resources by ensuring that every peso budgeted by the government would lead to the effective execution of programs and projects.”

“The full implementation of this CBS is timely and vital as the government executes pandemic response and recovery plans,” Marcos said.

4. Tax package 3: bill on assessment reform

Marcos said this proposed bill provides the following:

  • Establishment of property values ​​and valuation standards across the country
  • The development of a real estate information system that provides the database of all real estate transactions and declarations in the country


5. Law on taxation of passive income and financial intermediaries

This proposed measure aims to reform the taxation of capital income and financial services by redefining the taxation of the financial sector into a simpler, fairer, more efficient and revenue-neutral tax system. It also represents the adoption of a regionally competitive tax system.

6. E-Government Act

This establishes the e-government master plan, covering all e-government services and processes.

7. Internet Transactions Act or Electronic Commerce Act

This bill establishes effective regulation of commercial activities over the Internet or electronically. It aims to protect consumer rights and data privacy, encourage innovation, promote fair advertising practices and fair competition, secure online transactions, protect intellectual property rights, and uphold standards and product safety.

8. Unified Initiatives of Government Financial Institutions in Support of Struggling Businesses for Economic Recovery

President Marcos said the measure aims to provide financial assistance to struggling businesses critical to economic recovery through programs and initiatives implemented by the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Guarantee Corporation.

This addresses liquidity or solvency issues of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and strategically important industries to encourage business continuity and maintain employment.

9. Creation of a reserve medical corps

Marcos is considering the creation of a medical reserve corps under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Health and Management. The CRM will be made up of licensed physicians, medical students who have completed their four years of medical school, medical graduates, registered nurses and licensed allied health professionals.

10. National Disease Prevention Management Authority

This bill seeks to create the Center for Disease Prevention and Control attached to the DOH. President Duterte mentioned it in his last SONA in 2021.

11. The creation of the Institute of Virology of the Philippines

Another bill from the previous administration, this measure seeks to establish the Philippines Institute of Virology Science and Technology as an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). DOST offices and units with virology-related functions will be transferred to the Philippines Institute of Virology.

12. The Department of Water Resources

Marcos pushed Congress to pass a bill creating the Department of Water Resources, which adopts integrated water resources management as the strategic framework for developing and planning national water management policies. The Duterte administration also pushed for the creation of this agency.

13. Unified system of separation, retirement and pension

This provides a monthly disability pension in lieu of the disability benefits provided by applicable laws for military and uniformed personnel retired due to disability.

14. The law on electronic governance

It promotes the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) to provide opportunities for citizens.

15. The National Land Use Act

This Bill will propose sound and holistic management and development of the country’s land and water resources, hold landowners accountable for making these lands productive and sustainable, and strengthen the Local Government Unit (LGU) to manage the ecological balance within its jurisdiction.

It also provides a land use and planning framework to determine the policies and principles for implementing this legislation.

16. The National Defense Act

President Marcos wants to amend the “outdated” National Defense Act of 1935 to change the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He wants government forces to be more responsive to current and future conventional security threats to the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

17. Enactment of enabling legislation for the natural gas industry

This aims to foster the development of the midstream domestic gas industry to enhance the Philippines’ energy security by diversifying the country’s primary energy sources and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewables.

18. Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA)

This aims to improve the implementation of loss provisions and enhance its effectiveness to deal with the high cost of electricity, alleged market collusion and insufficient power supply.

The bill seeks to restructure the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to promote accountability and improve its system of government to ensure consumer protection and improve the competitive functioning of the electricity market.

19. Amendments to the Construction, Operation and Transfer Act

Finally, President Marcos called on Congress to amend the Build, Operate, and Transfer Act to improve the implementation of the public-private partnership (PPP) program and be able to guide the desired outputs and outcomes in line with the country’s strategic development objectives.

More specifically, the amendments aim to:

  • Resolving the ambiguity of the existing law
  • Address bottlenecks and challenges affecting PPP program implementation
  • Fostering a more competitive environment conducive to PPPs

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