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With 267 affirmative votes, 6 negative, and zero abstention, the House of Representatives on Friday approved on third reading House Bill (HB) No. 7884, granting the President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to fight red tape.

Duterte certified the measure as urgent, with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez leading its filing on Wednesday.

Specifically, HB 7884 empowers the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications in times of national emergency. The President will also be allowed to suspend the requirements and streamline and expedite the process of issuance of such documents.

Further, the measure covers all agencies under the executive branch of government including departments and their bureaus; commissions, boards and councils; government instrumentalities; and government owned and controlled corporations.

The good news is HB 7884 grants the President the power to suspend or remove any government official or employee performing found to be violating the need to speed up the processing of local permits, licenses and certifications.

In the bills explanatory note, the authors cited the need for the government to lessen the burden of the people, especially amid the pandemic, by reducing transaction costs in all government agencies and

The bill’s explanatory note states it aims to “provide an efficient delivery of its services while maintaining integrity and accountability in government service and the promotion of transparency in the transactions of the government with the public, encompassing a program for the adoption of simplified requirements and procedures.”

Showing that Congress is also concerned on addressing red tape, the Senate on Wednesday passed its own measure granting the President powers to also expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications during national emergency.

Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 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. (sovereignph.com)

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