PCCI urges amendments to land reform law | Inquirer Business

PCCI urges amendments to land reform law

/ 02:20 AM October 20, 2022

The country’s largest business organization is calling on the government to increase the land retention limit of landowners to 24 hectares from five hectares, and allow full foreign ownership of solar and wind projects in the country.

On Wednesday, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) listed these two among several resolutions seeking to improve the economy that will be submitted to President Marcos today during the final day of the 48th Philippine Business Conference & Expo at The Manila Hotel.

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On food security,  the PCCI said it wanted the government to adjust the land retention limit from five to 24 hectares by amending the Agrarian Reform Law.

According to PCCI president George Barcelon, the retention limit has to be increased because the current maximum size of just five hectares was considered by many investors as too small to be viable. The proposed limit of 24 hectares is deemed enough to support commercial production that should, in turn, contribute to securing the country’s food supply.

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The resolution also recommended the implementation of a debt condonation program for unpaid amortizations of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and convert certificates of land ownership award into simple titles.

For the power sector, the PCCI is calling on the Department of Energy to amend the implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act to allow 100 percent foreign investment in solar and wind projects.

Integration

The same resolution is also urging the national government to accelerate the integration of the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao grids to enable the free flow of electricity nationwide.

“Both the government and the private sectors took initiatives to respond to the pandemic and spur economic recovery. PCCI, in particular, spent time with government officials to share and exchange views on strategic plans on both economy and sustainability in business facing the new reality on the need of competitive and adaptive ideas to new challenges,” Barcelon said during his opening remarks on the first day of the two-day conference.

Other policy recommendations

The other resolutions crafted by the PCCI include recommendations on health, employment, education, national security, digitalization, environment and climate change and international trade.

The health resolution is urging the government to reform the state-owned health insurance company,  Philippine Health Insurance Corp., turning it into a science-based and transparent health-care system.

The government was also asked to encourage public-private partnerships (PPP) in the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law.

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For employment, the PCCI is asking the government to help micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as amend restrictive and punitive labor laws and enact ones that will increase productivity.

For education, the resolution recommends amending the Philippine Qualifications Framework Law to create a Philippine Qualifications Authority that will establish and maintain qualification standards for all levels of education and training.

For national security, the PCCI is asking the government to deepen cooperation with neighboring states, expand participation in regional and multilateral defense agreements, and accelerate the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

For digitalization, the government is being asked to pass into law the Open Access in Data Transmission Act, a proposed legislation which aims to liberalize the industry by lowering barriers to market entry, fast-tracking and lowering the cost of deploying broadband facilities, and promoting infrastructure sharing.

The environment and climate change resolution, on the other hand, wants the government to address climate change and environmental protection by developing PPPs to establish world-class water and waste management infrastructure.

To help international trade, the PCCI wants the government to hasten the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and for the Philippines to join bilateral free trade agreements and trans-pacific partnerships to minimize barriers to the free flow of goods and services.

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TAGS: agrarian reform, amendments, pcci, Philippine Business Conference
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