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House on study mode during break, for PPP, EOPT, NatGas, Salceda says; Legislative mill to start grinding on SONA week

June 1st, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that the House working groups and committee he chairs will be “on study mode” during the sine die adjournment as he expects that the Public Private Partnership Law and the Ease of Paying Taxes Act will go on bicameral conference committee proceedings right after President Marcos’s 2nd State of the Nation Address. Salceda also says that the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Industry Act, the Salt Industry Development Act and other joint priorities of the Executive and Legislative Branches will also move “on SONA week.”

“We are on a working break, basically. I chair the TWG of the PPP Act and I am Chair of Ways and Means, and we expect PPP and EOPT to have bicam convened during SONA week or the days after,” Salceda says.

“In fact, I expect a SONA mention for both,” Salceda added.

Both the PPP and EOPT Laws, priorities of the Marcos administration, are already on the Senate floor. Salceda is the principal author of both measures, and was recognized by the Makati Business Club for “his leadership” on the latter bill.

“On EOPT the remaining issue to settle is the shift to a purely invoice tax system, from a hybrid receipt and invoice system. The shift to invoice will make it very difficult to fake receipts. But it has consequences on industries that are heavy on receivables, such as utilities. So, we will try to iron out the kinks on that issue.”

“I am also working with my counterpart, Senator Gatchalian, to see whether we can include the VAT refund for tourists, the amendments penalizing tax racketeering, and an expansion of inter-vivos donations in the EOPT. So far, we are getting to consensus on at least some of those items.”

On the PPP Law, Salceda says that the key issues will likely be “the conversion of a project from unsolicited to solicited, the bidding process, and approval thresholds.”

“Senator Ejercito is also moving quite quickly on that bill, so I expect us to enact a compromise version weeks after the 2nd SONA,” Salceda added.

Salceda also says that “the Senate and the House have been working closely on the Salt Industry Development Act, where I objected to higher tariffs on salt. Consumers will bear the costs of that.”

“We are also working with counterparts on the PDNGI Act, which we passed on 2nd reading yesterday. The Chair of the Energy Committee in the Senate, Senator Tulfo, has already filed his version. So, that will also move, and we are ready to meet with counterparts in conference committee,” Salceda added.

“The legislative mill is starting to accelerate, and we will try to complete PBBM’s reform priorities before the midterms. So, we are aware of the political timeline,” Salceda said.

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