PALACE MEETING. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Christopher Go, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Gomez Romualdez during a meeting at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on Sept. 16, 2020. Duterte discussed with congressional leaders the ease of doing business in the country. (Presidential photo by Toto Lozano)

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday hailed the Senate decision to create a legislation that will give President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to cut red-tape without having to amend the Ease of Doing Business law.

“We appreciate the initiative of Senate President (Vicente) Sotto (III), and this was the main agenda when the President invited the leaders of both Houses of Congress,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Roque admitted that the Ease of Doing Business law is not enough to cut red tape.

He said the measure would help the Philippine economy recover from recession brought about by coronavirus-related lockdowns.

“Hirap na ang ekonomiya dahil sa pandemya, humahanap ng paraan ang Presidente para mapabilis ang ating pagbangon galing sa recession na ito at talaga pong problema pa rin ang red tape (The economy is suffering because of the pandemic, so the President is looking for ways to be able to recover from recession and our problem remains to be red tape),” he said.

Last Friday, Sotto said some senators have agreed on strategies to able to meet the instruction of the President to make it easier for investors to do business in the country.

Sotto said he is eyeing to pass the legislation before Oct. 15.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the powers will give Duterte the authority to shorten the prescribed time for processing transactions such as business licenses and permits.

Duterte earlier met with Sotto, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go to express his frustrations over the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business law.

Go said Duterte wanted to reduce if not eliminate red tape and corruption in the remaining days of his term until 2022.

In 2018, Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business law which introduces simplified requirements and streamlined procedures that spare people from waiting time and long lines.

The law, which amends the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, reduces processing time for government agencies to three working days for simple transactions, seven working days for complex transactions, and 20 working days for highly technical transactions. (PNA)

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