Sen. Legarda urges strict implementation of RCEP guidelines

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has called for the strict implementation of the guidelines of the now ratified Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) treaty to ensure that the issues and concerns of the agriculture sector are properly addressed once the treaty is implemented.

 Legarda noted that the said guidelines were based on previous meetings and dialogues with the affected industries, specifically the agriculture sector.

“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,” Legarda stressed.

She pointed out that to boost the agriculture sector “we have to tap the effective and meaningful support of 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.”

To optimize the benefits of global trading systems, she said 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.”

“We have to learn to talk, to what we serve. We must revive the Anti-Smuggling Committee, Public-Private Agriculture Budget Monitoring Committee, and other committees that will pave the way to a genuine and continuous dialogue and cooperation between the government and production sector),” she added.

Legarda said “we have to set targets and timeframes for our programs that are responsive to the needs of our farmers, small businesses, and other production sectors, that there is need to create comparative advantages for the country’s economic sectors as the trade in services is a growing key interest of the Philippines.”

Governance, she said, must be also strengthened and improved, thus, the creation of a Special RCEP Oversight Committee to monitor and ensure that all concerned government agencies will provide the needed support to the farmers and other sectors, including the allotment of budget, technical and financial support.

Legarda concluded: “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.” ###