The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), LEDAC Secretariat, and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) under the auspices of the UNDP co-organized/conducted the 2nd Legislative Liaison System or LLS learning workshop on September 5-7, 2014 in Holiday Inn, Pampanga. About 260 government officials and employees comprising the LLS from 80 government agencies participated in the event.
Secretaries Arsenio Balisacan (NEDA) and Manuel Mamba (PLLO), and CHR Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales gave their respective welcome remarks which all-together focused on recalling what happened to the 1st LLS Learning-Workshop in 2011,what LLOs have contributed/accomplished so far since then, and what legislative measures they may propose and pursue for the 16th Congress.
Part One – The Policy Framework and Legislative Agenda Formulation
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras presented the Social Contract and the Integrated Economic and Human Development Framework which involved the connection of the former to the latter as well as the attainment of the same through inclusive growth and employment creation. He further stated that proposed legislative measures should be attuned to the target of the Aquino administration – poverty reduction and employment generation.
Secretary Balisacan discussed about the Legislative Components of the Philippine Development Plan or the PDP, and made emphasis on the proposed economic bills, i.e., “An Act Removing/Amending Investment Restrictions in Specific Laws cited in the Foreign Investment Negative List, except those in the Constitution or otherwise known as the Foreign Investment Negative List Bill. The proposed bill intends to generate investment and create employment.
Part Two – Executive Mechanisms for Legislation
NEDA Deputy Director-General Nestor R. Mijares IV tackled about the LEDAC and the common legislative agenda (CLA) formulation. Other topics presented were about the creation of the LEDAC, its functions and process in coming up with a list of priority legislative measures and the CLA.
PLLO Undersecretary Antonio Gallardo presented the mandate of PLLO, its correlation with the LLS and its affiliation with the Office of the Deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs. He said that the three are interconnected with one another with respect to shepherding the priority legislative measures of the President.
OES Undersecretary Lesley Cordero presented the importance of the Cabinet Assistance System and its mechanisms in generating the priority legislative measures of the Executive branch through the use of the Cabinet Clusters.
Ms. Lita Suerte-Felipe of DOST and DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin, who is a former Congresswoman, gave testimonial addresses on working through Executive mechanisms and application of the stakeholder analysis and political mapping in the Reproductive Health Law, respectively. Said speakers mentioned the challenges involved in the passage of their respective priority bills. These involved dealing with political personalities, tedious process, and other obstacles along the way in relentlessly pushing for their bills. LLS was reminded to use the existing executive mechanisms on legislative advocacy to achieve similar success.
Part Three – Legislative Process, Monitoring and Advocacy
Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento talked about the Political Dynamics in the House of Representatives. On the other hand, the Senate Secretary-General delivered the message of Senate President Franklin Drilon about Political Dynamics in the Senate. Insights on how to choose a champion in both Houses of Congress and how to be vigilant over agency bills were discussed.
PLLO Undersecretary Bernardino Sayo presented and explained the Legislative Process and Advocacy Interventions, which included a discussion on how a bill becomes a law.
On Stakeholder Analysis/Political Mapping, Mr. Rene Llorin laid down the framework on how to go about analyzing the roles, interests and concerns of all stakeholders and the corresponding issues and challenges related thereto.
PCOO Secretary Coloma gave pointers on how to effectively communicate with stakeholders and deal with officials of the Executive branch to shepherd the passage of agency-proposed bills.
Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Aguinaldo discussed the vetoed bills based on the following grounds or reasons: (i) inconsistency with the Constitution; (ii) inconsistency with existing laws, rules and regulations; (iii) technical impracticality or likely to cause confusion; (iv) public safety concerns; and (v) unjustifiably huge resource allocation.
DBM Assistant Secretary Janet Abuel presented the topic on Fiscal Responsibility Program and the Budget Process. Focus was on the current budget reform program, which is based on three areas: (i) spending within the means; (ii) spending on the right priorities; and (iii) spending on measurable results.
Part Four – Human Rights-Based Approach to Legislation
CHR Director Karen Gomez-Dumpit discussed about the HRBA to Legislation, which focused on HRBA principles and standards as the parameters to be considered in the proposed legislation of the Executive branch.
Deputy Executive Secretary Teofilo Pilando, Jr. presented the topic on Recommendation for Policy Review and Reforms, i.e., the Philippines as a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Philippines as a State party to the eight core international Human Rights treaties. He mentioned that the Philippines is required to undergo Universal Periodic Review or UPR on some UN Conventions/Treaties.
The workshops focused on the assessment, challenges, strategies and success involved in legislative advocacy of the LLS in the 15th Congress, as well as on the topic Advocacy Formulation for the President’s Priority Agenda in the 16th Congress.
The participants were able to formulate good strategies and advocacies in pursuing the President’s priority legislative agenda for the current Congress.