PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. presides over the second meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council in Malacañang, July 5, 2023. — PPA POOL/PHILIPPINE STAR-KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

A BILL seeking to ease the Bank Secrecy Law and another proposing to regulate the use of financial accounts have been included in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council’s (LEDAC) list of 20 priority measures targeted for Congress approval by December.

At its second meeting presided by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday, LEDAC members agreed to include the proposed amendments to the Bank Deposit Secrecy Law and the Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act to the list of 20 priority legislative measures.

Both bills were endorsed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

This after the Financial Action Task Force last month kept the Philippines in its “gray list” of countries under increased monitoring for money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The BSP is hoping the Philippines will be removed from the gray list by January 2024.

The LEDAC’s priority list currently includes 20 measures, such as the proposed Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, the E-Governance Act, and a bill seeking to ease the payment of taxes.

The list also includes bills seeking to rightsize the National Government, reform the pension system for retired military and uniformed personnel, create a National Employment Action Plan, and institutionalize the automatic income classification of local government units.

The proposed New Philippine Passport Act, Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, and the Waste-to-Energy bill were also included in the list.

The agenda for this year also includes bills seeking to revitalize the salt industry, regulate business transactions on the internet, amend the Build-Operate-Transfer law, create a National Disease Prevention Management Authority, establish a Virology Institute of the Philippines, reinstate the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and establish the Medical Reserve Corps. 

“Eighteen of the 20 bills were part of the 42 priority legislative measures during the first LEDAC meeting in October 2022,” the Presidential Communications Office said.

In a separate statement, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said he lobbied for the inclusion of an open-access bill for data transmission in the common legislative agenda.

He also pushed for the inclusion of the Tatak Pinoy Act, which seeks to form a multi-year strategy to boost the capacity of local enterprises to compete in the global market, and the Blue Economy Act, which aims to harness the potential of the country’s ocean economy.

Mr. Zubiri said the proposed Philippine Defense Industry Development Act, a cybersecurity bill, and amendments to the procurement provisions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act were also included in the common agenda.

“These bills will be vital in strengthening our AFP, and to our overall efforts to build a truly self-reliant defense strategy,” he said.

Two education bills — the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act and the Batang Magaling Act — were also proposed for inclusion, Mr. Zubiri said.

He said the House of Representatives also proposed the inclusion of 15 additional bills in the agenda, including the Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastic, the proposed Sustainable Urban Mobility Act, and the bill rationalizing motor vehicle user’s charge. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza