By Kris M. Crismundo
MANILA, (PNA) – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) will be submitting resolutions for economic reforms to President Benigno Aquino III Friday.
PCCI has come up with 41 resolutions during its three-day Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel to address sentiments of the business community in the country.
These conference resolutions would like to urge the government to act on key problems in the country for further economic growth and trickle down the effect of the booming economy.
Among notable resolutions are in Agriculture and Fisheries which called to promote tourism-driven agriculture, modernization of agriculture and fisheries industry through public-private partnership, and treating hybrid rice seeds as “co-equal to certified seeds during distribution to farmers in time of typhoon disasters and calamities.”
PCCI also urged the government to provide effective assistance and support to private sector in order to level up the country’s competitiveness within the ASEAN region.
Resolutions on competitiveness in ASEAN includes the following:
-implementation of pending deliverables as committed by the National Government under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blue Print for the period ending 2013 and beyond;
-fast tracking the delivery of critical and urgent economic reform initiatives which cut across all business sectors and undermine our competitiveness, i.e. lack of infrastructure, high cost of power, smuggling, corruption, bureaucratic red tape which hamper ease of doing business, etc.
-supporting the acceleration of the finalization and roll out of local sectoral road maps specifically on the ASEAN 12 Priority Integration Sectors to ensure competitiveness;
-hastening initiatives aimed at leveling the playing field and widening of the inclusiveness of AEC specifically the SMEs. There is also a need to develop support policy and related programs that would address SMEs financial constraints, enhance their understanding of overseas markets and improve capacity to participate in regional trading activities;
-helping to improve utilization of ASEAN+1 FTAs where benefit margins are raised through set target on tariff elimination of 95 percent and the adoption of a common rules of origin (ROO);
-improving access to related information on AEC 2015, and enhance understanding of FTAs;
-supporting initiatives for inclusion of youth and women in the AEC process;
-hastening collaboration and cooperation between and among ASEAN’s 12 Priority Integration Sectors;
-supporting the launch and continued viability of Philippines-Indonesia RORO initiative; and
-pushing a high level public-private council to provide strategic direction, coordination, effective branding and communication, guidance and monitoring of various activities towards a successful AEC 2015 launch.
Moreover, the local government units (LGUs) were pushed to simplify and standardize business process for improved business processing in the country.
For education, PCCI has asked the President to act on job mismatch by analyzing workforce requirements in the future.
The country should also give priority to human resource development, industry, research and development to enhance academe and industry alliance.
Notable resolutions in energy, power, water and fuel were: assuring accelerated industrialization and transparent consumer benefits as a major step to achieve inclusiveness; urging the Office of the President to declare power projects and fuel exploration as National Major Strategy Programs; tightening the power program in Mindanao; establishment of the ancillary reserve market and provide mechanism for transparent procurement of ancillary services; supporting the efforts of the Metro Manila Waterworks Sewerage System in updating and upgrading its development service contract terms and performance review.
Further, industry resolutions include policy framework for responsible and sustainable mining practices.
Members of PCCI also agreed that improved financial access for SMEs will be beneficial through “encouraging DBP and Land Bank of the Philippines to actively and creatively carry out their mandate of development, especially in the countryside”.
On the other hand, the largest business organization asked Aquino and the Congress to pass the following bills: Anti-Smuggling, Anti-Trust/Competition Act, Collective Investments Schemes, Freedom of Access to Information, Fiscal Incentives Act, Convergence Act, Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Fiscal Responsibility, Immigration Act Amendment, PPA Charter Amendment, Water Sector Reform, Land Administration Reform Act, Land Use Code, Real Property Valuation, Corporate Farming Act, Electricity Rate Reduction Bill, Imposing a Uniform Franchise Tax on Distribution Utilities Enjoying Legislative Franchise, Energy Efficiency Act, Clean Air Act Amendment, Amendment of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) to repeal the Common Carrier Tax (CCT) and Gross Philippine Billing Tax (GPBT) on foreign cargoes, National Transport Policy, Philippine Marine Act, and Amendment to the MSME Magna Carta.
Other resolutions included are in areas of Environment, Good Governance, ICT and Services, Infrastructure and Transportation, Labor and Employment, Taxation, and Tourism.