Romualdez to peers: Follow Duterte’s ‘marching orders’

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Leyte congressman-elect Martin Romualdez on Sunday prodded his colleagues in Congress to heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders by passing structural economic reforms in the next three years.

“The President has issued the marching orders, and we need to follow if we all want to become a prosperous middle-class country free from poverty by 2040,” the Lakas-CMD president said in a statement.

“The way I see it, we need to focus more on institutionalizing reforms that will encourage the influx of more investments, the creation of more jobs, improvement in human capital investment, and the building of better infrastructure,” added Romualdez, one of the frontrunners in the Speakership race.

Besides Romualdez, other contenders for Speaker include Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. The three joined Duterte’s four-day visit to Tokyo, Japan.

“We, the incoming members of the 18th Congress, are faced with the important task of pursuing vital economic legislation needed to sustain higher productivity growth,” Romualdez said.

“Global industrial giants see a great potential in us, but we just have to work hard to gain their trust and confidence,” he said shortly after arriving home from the Japan trip.

He appealed to his fellow legislators to consider as an urgent task the approval of “important legislative measures that reform the country’s relatively restrictive and less competitive economic policies.”

He cited in particular the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which are meant to encourage investments in industry and services and boost private construction.

Romualdez admitted that approving all of the President’s priority economic measures in just three years may be a tall order for 18th Congress, but he said “nothing is impossible if we all set our sights on that goal.”

“All we need is to unite as one body and set politics aside. If need be, we have to cross party lines to help the President lift our people from poverty. Sayang naman ang lahat ng ginagagawa ng ating Pangulo kung mauuwi lang sa wala,” he said.