Voting 23-0, the Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a measure that would give the President the authority to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications during national emergency.

The measure in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s push to reduce red tape in approving  local permits, licenses and certifications, which will also help the country attract new investments.

Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1844, said the measure was made under the same principle as that of the Bayanihan 2 provisions to extend the President’s authority beyond the current pandemic and any national emergency that the country might face in the future.

Aside from Zubiri, the bill was principally authored by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto 3rd, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

“This bill seeks to authorize the President, during the time of national emergency, to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the process for the issuance of the same. While this may be a small step, it surely can create a significant impact on all enterprises,” Zubiri said. 

SBN 1844 shall cover all agencies of the executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils; government instrumentalities, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and local government units.

Under the measure, the President shall have the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations, including fixing or shortening the periods provided for under existing laws, regulations, issuances and ordinances.

Zubiri said the measure also authorizes the President to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations.

The President, he said, in consultation with or upon recommendation of affected government agencies, may prescribe to be permanent the streamlined regulatory processes and procedures, and the suspension or waiver of the requirements in securing permits, licenses, clearances, and certifications or authorizations. 

The senator added that SBN 1844 also reiterates the power of the President given by the Constitution to remove or suspend any government official or employee as provided under the measure. 

According to Zubiri, the measure could ease the already heavy burden of the businesses that were heavily hit and continuously being beaten by the gargantuan effects of the pandemic.

“This is a good accompanying measure to the ease of doing business. I think a lot of good will come out of this and I believe that with this, the President will be emboldened to remove more people for their ineptitude and incompetence,” Zubiri said. (sovereignph.com)

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