Senate leaders file bill allowing President to expedite issuance of permits during nat’l emergencies
MANILA, Philippines — Senate leaders have filed a bill that will authorize the President to expedite the issuance of licenses and permits during times of national emergencies.
Under Senate Bill No. 1844, the President will be granted the power to “suspend the requirements for national and local permits, license and certifications.”
The said bill covers all agencies of the executive department, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils, government instrumentalities as well as government-owned and controlled corporations.
Under the measure, the President will have the authority to:
- Accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications for permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations, including fixing or shortening the periods provided for under existing laws, regulations, issuances, and ordinances
- suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations.
“While this may be a small step. It surely can create a significant impact on all enterprises,” the bill’s explanatory note read.
“Likewise, this move could ease the already heavy burden of the businesses that were heavily hit and continuously being beaten by the gargantuan effects of the pandemic,” it added.
The bill was filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
While the Philippines’ ranking improved in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank in 2020, it still fell behind among Southeast Asian countries, according to the senators.
They said this proposed measure could serve as “one of the needed breathers of the crumbling enterprises [and] redound to the benefit of our economy and encourage investors to capitalize in the country.”
Sanctions for violators
The measure also grants the President the power to “suspend or remove, upon the determination of a competent body, any government official or employee performing acts contrary” to the intent of the bill.
This measure comes a week after President Rodrigo Duterte met with leaders of Congress to discuss anti-red tape and anti-corruption measures.
During the said meeting, Duterte had also expressed willingness to be “summoned” in congressional hearings that would tackle bills seeking to cut red tape and corruption in the government.
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