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Congress to address gap between rich, poor

The Congress is prioritizing the passage of laws to address the gap between the rich and the poor.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III stressed this in a speech before the 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Bangladesh where he announced that the Duterte administration is working on a shift to federalism.

Pimentel lamented that “this dichotomy in Philippine society, where there are the haves who are living in abundance and abandon, and the have-nots who are very poor and have been left behind, is an unpleasant reminder, for a legislator like me, that in our country, economic growth has only benefitted the already wealthy.”

Pimentel said that Congress under the administration of President Duterte, while waiting for the benefits of federalism, has “begun to address some problems which promote or perpetuate inequality with policy changes.”

As one who topped the 1990 Bar examination, Pimentel told legislators from all over the world that the Philippine government was in the process of passing laws to provide free tertiary education, to promote investments, to ensure job security, and to reform the country’s income tax system—all with the end in view of combatting social inequity.

Pimentel, a law graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s premiere state university, said that the government believes that “education is the great equalizer” and that beginning 2017, tuition in the Philippines’ state universities and colleges would be free to deserving students.

“To promote the ease of doing business in the Philippines and give micro and small businesses a chance to compete with bigger ones,” said Pimentel, “we will cut red tape, make government-issued documents more reliable and trustworthy so that there should be no more need to get repetitive documents from numerous government agencies, and impose an ambitious 72-hour deadline for all applications with government.” (Mario Casayuran)