Legarda urges firm implementation of RCEP guidelines

February 16, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has urged for a stringent implementation of the guidelines included in the Resolution concurring in the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The rules were based on previous dialogues with the affected industries, specifically the agriculture sector. Legarda has ensured that their issues and concerns will be addressed when the Upper Chamber concurs in the ratification of the RCEP.

Legarda said her support for the treaty requires the commitment of concerned government agencies, as what defines a good treaty for each participating country are its principles and goals in acceding into the accord.

First, the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Science and Technology, Budget and Management, Agrarian Reform, and National Economic and Development Authority, as well as the Tariff Commission, and the Intellectual Property Office must listen effectively and meaningfully to farmers and fishers, according to Legarda.

“Matuto po tayong makipag-usap sa ating pinagsisilbihan. Buhayin ang mga Anti-smuggling Committee, Public-Private Agriculture Budget Monitoring Committee, at iba pang mga committees na magbibigay-daan sa isang tunay at patuloy na dayalogo at pakikipagtulungan sa hanay ng gobyerno at mga sektor ng produksyon,” she stated.

Second, she explained that to optimize the benefits of global trading systems, there must be transparency among the cornerstones of transactions in government and with trading partners, as well as information sharing that would keep the various sectors informed of the many opportunities in the domestic, regional, and global marketplace.

Third, Legarda underscored the importance of reforms and improvement of programs suited for the sector that RCEP is targeting to advance.

“Set targets and timeframes for our programs that are responsive to the needs of our farmers, small businesses, and other production sectors. Wala pong forever at bawal ang walang katapusang paghihintay sa mga ipinangakong tulong sa ating mga farmers at mga sektor na nangangailangan ng tulong,” she stressed.

Legarda also pointed out the need to create comparative advantages for the country’s economic sectors.

“Dapat po natin linangin ang oportunidad na naghihintay sa larangan ng trade in services para sa ating mga manggagawa at mga negosyante. Trade in services is a growing key interest of the Philippines, evident in its fast-paced growth recorded from 2012 to 2020,” she explained.

Lastly, governance must be strengthened and improved, thus, the creation of a Special Oversight Committee on RCEP implementation is included in the filed Resolution to monitor that all concerned government agencies will provide the needed support to the farmers and other sectors, including the allotment of budget and, technical and financial support.

“We cannot stand in isolation as we face this huge wave of global and regional economic integration. We need to build capacities and efficiencies to achieve competitiveness,” Legarda said.

“My decision to lend support to the ratification of RCEP is premised on my conviction that an open, transparent, and predictable trade and investment environment generates new opportunities for everyone,” she concluded. (end)