Senate OKs on 2nd reading bill letting President speed up permits during nat'l emergencies | Inquirer News
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Senate OKs on 2nd reading bill letting President speed up permits during nat’l emergencies

/ 07:29 PM October 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on second reading a measure that would give powers to the President to streamline the issuance of licenses and permits in times of national emergencies.

During the plenary session, the upper chamber approved Senate Bill No. 1844, which will authorize the President to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses, and certifications.

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had previously told him that President Rodrigo Duterte will certify the measure as urgent to expedite its legislation.

With the certification, the Senate can immediately proceed with the third reading approval of the bill without waiting for three days after it was approved on second reading.

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Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who sponsored the measure on the floor, said the bill is a “good accompanying” measure to the Ease of Doing Business law.

“Pasado na emergency powers for permits, licenses, and certifications,” Zubiri also said in a Viber message to reporters.

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” as well as “suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations.”

It also grants power to the President 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.

“With this, the President now would be emboldened to remove more people from their ineptitude and their incompetence in government service,” Zubiri said during the session.

The bill was filed on September 22 following a meeting between Duterte and leaders of Congress, including Sotto, wherein anti-red tape and anti-corruption measures were discussed.

“You represented us in the Senate and you brought the message back loud and clear to us,” Zubiri told Sotto during the session, referring to the latter’s participation in the said meeting.

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TAGS: emergency powers, Nation, News, permits, President, red tape
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