1st Ledac meeting takes up tax reform, salary hike for military

Pia Ranada
President Rodrigo Duterte emphasizes security concerns at the first full Ledac meeting under his administration

LEDAC CONVENED. President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the LEDAC meeting at the Palace State Dining Room on January 30, 2017. Photo by King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – The first full Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting under the Duterte administration tackled several priority bills of the government, including bills on tax reform and higher salaries for soldiers.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a news briefing on Tuesday, January 31, that among the bills discussed at the meeting were “the possible termination of barangay elections, salary increases of the military, incentives for retirement pay of military, tax reform, and fiscal incentives,” he said. (READ: LIST: Priority bills of the Duterte administration)

The controversial bid to revive the death penalty, an administration-based measure, was not specifically taken up at the meeting held on Monday, January 30.

“It was like a review of sort of of the presidential legislative agenda, and the congressional legislative agenda. The congressional legislative agenda, there are around 39 items, the President’s is something like 28,” said Abella.

The Palace spokesman described the gathering as a “big picture meeting.”

One concrete decision made during the meeting is that the Ledac will be convened every quarter as mandated by law. The various committees under the Ledac, meanwhile, will meet once a month, said Abella.

Asked what bills Duterte himself mentioned as priorities, Abella declined to give specific details. But he said the President seemed to emphasize issues on security.

“He was really concerned about security issues, basically security issues, especially in Mindanao,” said the spokesman.

The Ledac advises the President on programs, policies, and laws necessary to achieving the goals of the administration.

Established during the Ramos administration, the Ledac is a venue for executive and legislative branches to discuss the laws needed for priority programs and targets of the government.

The Ledac is chaired by the President and its members include the Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker, 7 Cabinet members, 3 senators, 3 House members, and one representative each from local government, youth, and the private sector.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is no longer a regular fixture in key Palace events and other presidential engagements that usually include the Vice President, attended the Ledac meeting. She is expected to be regularly invited to attend the Ledac meetings as the Vice President is a member of the body.

The Duterte administration aims to convene the Ledac regularly, in contrast to the previous administration which only convened the body twice. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.