Houses, to push Duterte's priority legislation – solon

MARINDUQUE Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Wednesday backed the priority measures outlined by President Rodrigo Duterte in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, saying these are necessary steps that will help the Philippines move forward amid the pandemic.

“President Duterte made it very clear, his policies and what his administration intends to do in the coming months as we battle the virus. We in the House of Representatives are ready to support his priority legislation so the country can move forward,” Velasco said.

Velasco identified five areas which he said could help the country get back on its feet, as well as the people who have lost their jobs and livelihood.

Primary of these, according to him, is the Chief Executive’s call for better internet service in view of the work-from-home arrangement of many companies, the new normal in doing business and the online learning of most students—all of which demand a wider and reliable internet connectivity.

“Everything we do has been dramatically altered because of the health crisis. The situation has underscored the importance of having a stable internet connection so we can continue with our daily routine and have a semblance of normalcy in our lives,” the Marinduque lawmaker said.

“But more importantly, we should look at the bigger picture. A better internet connection provides every Filipino a fighting chance or an edge to compete in the global economy. With or without COVID-19, that should be the game plan of our telecommunications companies,” Velasco added.

Since the pandemic erupted in March, there has been a dramatic increase in online transactions, whether it’s about doing business with government or private companies or purchases. “The use of digital platform has surged to a point we’ve never seen before and this will remain in the coming days so it’s important that our telcos step up.”

Other benefits of improved interconnectivity, he explained, include cut down in red tape, reduction in possible virus transmission through face-to-face contact and creation of a digital literate generation.

Velasco said improving interconnectivity should be coupled with digital training and opportunities to help e-commerce flourish in the country and encourage more new entrepreneurs well versed with the use of digital platforms.

According to Velasco, he will also study possible legislation to give flesh to the President’s call for “plant, plant, plant” to support the agriculture sector,  utilization of the coco levy to assist farmers and the industry, and improvement in domestic tourism sector.