Press Release
March 9, 2020

MARCH 9, 2020

Part 1

Mr. President, I just have a point of inquiry. Earlier today, there was a hearing in the Committee on Economic Affairs, and I'll read the title of the resolution that was taken up.

Mr. President, for the information of the body, I'll repeat what I said... Earlier this morning, there was a hearing held by the Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Senator Imee Marcos on the resolution inquiring in aid of legislation "into the effectivity of the investment promotion agencies and its corresponding incentive regime in generating revenues, creating jobs, and providing business opportunities for the people."

Mr. President, dear colleagues, I think everyone knows that Committee Report No. 50 is CITIRA, which is on the floor. So I would just like to pose my question to the body and ask that, if a subject matter is already taken up on the floor, have we changed our rules? Are we allowed to have another committee conduct a hearing on exactly the same subject matter in another hearing without even informing the chair, even on a personal level?

For the record, this committee is secondarily referred. But we have already conducted numerous hearings on this matter and continue to reach out to our colleagues. We even had a briefing for all the staff of our colleagues, and many of you have sent their staff and I thank you for the time.

So I just pose that question because it is a little bit confusing to this representation that I chair this committee and there will be another hearing, hearing the effect of the CITIRA or the proposed measure by the DOF in another hearing.

The resolution is available for everyone to see, the "Whereas" clause specifically points to the ineffectivity of CITIRA in addressing the need. So will we have parallel hearings now? That is the question I'd like to pose to the body.

Thank you.

Part 2

Mr. President, if I may just clarify. I would be very happy to hear the opinions and concerns of our other colleagues. But just to clarify, in the hearing that Senator Marcos conducted, and she may confirm this, specific provisions of the CITIRA bill were taken up, including the creation of the FIRB, including the footloose industries, the sunset provision. So these are very specific to the CITIRA bill that is on the floor. And the use of the POGOS as analogy is also, to my humble opinion, cannot be used by analogy. The chair of the Committee on Labor, when he decided to have a hearing, we talked about it, and we discussed, which he did manifest on the floor, that he will not touch on the tax measure because there are pending bills in the Committee on Ways and Means on the tax measure. It was not even a lengthy discussion, it was a given, because as the Majority Floor Leader pointed out, it may not be in the rules, but it is a practice that we have had time and again.

And also for the record, and I would also be very happy to hear the confirmation and clarification by the senator who chairs the Committee on Economic Affairs, one of the speakers was no less than the director general of PEZA, who is known to have been very vocal about her opposition, and who as at some point said that she will support, but I guess she changed her mind. So she is the person who was given the platform to speak there.

I don't mind, dear colleagues, you can speak to any resource person. You can invite them to your office, but to have them in a hearing on a matter that was pending on the floor, is a slightly different thing. And that is why I would like to have a healthy discussion on this matter, because it's a little bit difficult when I'm chairing a difficult subject matter, and there are parallel hearings going on with resource persons who have attended my hearing and who have already given their official statements. And I am not aware that they have changed their positions on it.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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