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JULY 11, 2013

NR # 3161

Stand on principles: Taada tells new lawmakers

To further boost the nations current economic momentum, former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Erin Taada III urged the passage of legislative initiatives promoting accountability and transparency in government. We must hold all public officials accountable for all their actions, he stressed before 45 new members of the House of Representatives participating in the three-day Executive Course on Legislation being held at the Andaya Hall of the Batasan complex. As one of the resource persons in the ongoing legislative course, Taada expressed confidence the new lawmakers would take the cudgels and actively push vital measures like the Freedom of Information (FOI) and the anti-smuggling bills, among others. Taada stressed that the proposed FOI measure, which the Senate passed but failed to hurdle in the House during the last days of the 15 th Congress, would certainly heighten public accountability among public officials as the people is afforded true and fast access to information on government and government officials. Likewise, Taada said that the proposed measure strengthening the anti-smuggling provisions of the Tariff and Customs Code by removing perceived loopholes and weaknesses that encourage technical and outright smuggling. Smuggling of agricultural products, among others, would certainly kill Philippine agriculture and leave Filipino farmers at the losing end. Local agricultural produce could not compete with low-priced smuggled products, he pointed out. Smuggling in the country is one big culprit that suffocates revenue collection, affecting not only agriculture but the various export and import products. Taada, the ruling Liberal Partys spokesperson during the recent national and local elections, also enumerated in gist, measures which the new lawmakers could consider in crafting their pet bills. He also cited, among others, the bills protecting the nations marine resources; and the proposed rationalization of fiscal incentives. Your help is very important, Taada stressed, urging the new members never to compromise non-negotiable things like principles. (30) dpt