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Senate names members of RCEP oversight panel

The Senate on Wednesday named the members of an oversight panel authorized to closely monitor the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) following the senators' concurrence to its ratification on Tuesday evening.

During session, Senator Sonny Angara announced Senate President Pro-Tempore Loren Legarda will serve as chairperson of the Senate Special Oversight Committee on RCEP.

Other members of the panel for the mega free trade deal are: Angara, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Senators Imee Marcos, Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Mark Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian, Jinggoy Estrada and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Senate concurred in the ratification of RCEP with 20 senators voting in favor of Resolution No. 485 and one voting against it. One lawmaker abstained.

Marcos abstained while Senator Risa Hontiveros voted against the concurrence.

Immense potential for growth

In a tweet, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. welcomed the ratification of RCEP in the upper chamber of Congress.

"We are proud of the swift ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, demonstrating our commitment to openness and a thriving business environment," Marcos said.

According to Marcos, it will be a huge help for the Philippines' economic growth if it would be part of the RCEP.

"Being part of this regional free trade agreement holds immense potential for promoting economic growth and development across the Asia-Pacific and brings numerous opportunities for our country, particularly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)," he added.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement first floated in August 2012, covering members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

It was ratified by then-President Rodrigo Duterte in September 2021 and by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in November 2022, and it had been up for Senate concurrence. At least two-thirds of the upper chamber must concur with an international agreement or treaty to make it valid and effective.

Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Law

During the same session, Angara said Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa was appointed chairperson of the Senate panel to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation.

Other members are Senators Robinhood Padilla, Pimentel and Hontiveros.—LDF, GMA Integrated News