By Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral

THE LEGISLATIVE-EXECUTIVE Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) will convene today for the second time under the current government to agree on priorities that President Rodrigo R. Duterte cited in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte presides over a meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) at the President’s Hall in Malacañan on November 14, 2016. — SIMEON CELI JR/Presidential Photo

The 20-member advisory body was established under Republic Act No. 7640 during the administration of former president Fidel V. Ramos.

It then held its first meeting on May 19, 1993, a year into Mr. Ramos’s term.

After a five-year hiatus, the young Duterte administration reconvened LEDAC on Jan. 30, setting the stage for close consultation between legislative and executive leaders on priority reforms. They had also agreed to include leaders of the judiciary whenever necessary.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, who heads LEDAC’s secretariat, and Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III confirmed in separate mobile phone messages on Monday that the advisory body will convene today.

“LEDAC is confirmed tomorrow afternoon,” Mr. Pimentel said yesterday.

“Agenda would be what legislative measures Malacañang wants prioritized especially those mentioned in the SONA.”

Among the measures that Mr. Duterte underscored in his second SONA on July 24 were the proposed 2018 General Appropriations Act, revival of the death penalty, Bangsamoro basic law, shift to a federal form of government, national land use act, establishment of a department of national resilience, rightsizing the national government act, tax reforms, additional powers to address worsening traffic, review of Republic Act No. (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, amendment of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to remove the “lowest bid” requirement that has led to quality being compromised, and a national broadband plan.

Rolando G. Tungpalan, National Economic and Development Authority undersecretary for Investment Programming, said 14 bills previously endorsed by LEDAC’s Executive Committee (LEDAC-ExCom) last July 13 will also be tabled for today’s meeting.

The LEDAC-ExCom — which is composed of the leaders of both chambers of Congress, the Executive Secretary, the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and the Presidential Legislative Adviser — convenes whenever necessary.

“LEDAC-ExCom-approved Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) is included in the meeting tomorrow. The CLA has to be adopted and approved by the LEDAC Full Council,” Mr. Tungpalan said in a mobile phone reply.

Measures endorsed by the LEDAC-ExCom consist of proposals for a unified national identification system act, security of tenure bill that will further limit allowed contractualization, use of funds from a levy imposed on coconut farmers during the regime of the late former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, national transport act to address worsening traffic, budget reform act, national land use act, rightsizing of the national government, strengthening of RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, amendments to RA 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, changes to the National Irrigation Administration Charter to provide free irrigation, amendments to Commonwealth Act No. 146 or the Public Service Act in order to open public utilities to foreign ownership without having to amend the Constitution, an ease of doing business act/fast business permit act, Government Procurement Reform Act amendment and tax reform.

According to a statement issued by NEDA last month, the 14 bills form part of the 28 measures in the proposed CLA that was “reviewed and vetted” by the LEDAC Secretariat for final approval by the full council. The CLA consists of measures based on the President’s Legislative Agenda and the Common Legislative Priorities of Congress.

Mr. Pernia had earlier said adoption by both the executive and legislative branches of a joint list of priorities means “we would want them passed into law, possibly within the year.” Classifying specific bills as “urgent” removes the requirement of waiting for days after second-reading approval by the House of Representatives and the Senate, in plenary session, before approval in third and final reading.

Adoption by either chamber of the other’s version also removes the necessity of convening a bicameral conference committee to harmonize differences before submission to Malacañang for signing into law.