House OKs bill giv­ing the Pres­i­dent power to cut red tape dur­ing na­tional emer­gency

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By BEN R. ROSARIO

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted Fri­day night to grant the Pres­i­dent the author­ity to ex­pe­dite the pro­cess­ing and is­suance of gov­ern­ment per­mits, li­censes, and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in times of na­tional emer­gency.

Ear­lier, the Se­nate passed its own ver­sion of the mea­sure.

With 267 af­fir­ma­tive and 6 neg­a­tive votes, the Lower House ap­proved on third and fi­nal read­ing House Bill 7884 that will em­power the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive to fast-track the is­suance of na­tional and lo­cal per­mits to de­fend the coun­try against ad­verse eco­nomic ef­fects of na­tional emer­gency.

The bill was passed on sec­ond read­ing on Thurs­day night af­ter the cham­ber con­vened it­self into a Com­mit­tee of the Whole chaired by Deputy Speaker and 1Pac­man Party-list Rep. Mi­kee Romero.

With Pres­i­dent Duterte cer­ti­fy­ing HB 7884 as an ur­gent ad­min­is­tra­tion mea­sure, the Lower House swiftly con­ducted third and fi­nal read­ing on the leg­isla­tive

pro­posal.

The bill was au­thored by Speaker Lord Allan Ve­lasco, Ma­jor­ity Leader Fer­di­nand Martin Ro­mualdez, Deputy Speak­ers Michael Romero and Doy Lea­chon, and Reps. John Rey­nald Tiangco, Wil­frido Mark En­verga, Jose “Bonito” Sing­son, Fran­cisco B. Ben­itez, and Al­fredo A. Garbin.

In the ex­plana­tory note of the bill, the au­thors noted that as the na­tion faced the threat of the COVID-19 pan­demic, the eco­nomic land­scape of the coun­try like­wise dras­ti­cally changed.

“Its im­pact on the dif­fer­ent sec­tors is be­yond mea­sure and the gov­ern­ment’s role is to lessen the bur­den of the peo­ple,” they said.

To ad­dress the ad­verse eco­nomic im­pact of pan­demics and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, law­mak­ers be­lieve that re­duc­tion of trans­ac­tion costs and the pro­vi­sion of ef­fi­cient de­liv­ery of ser­vices is im­por­tant.

“For this rea­son, this bill seeks to au­tho­rize the Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines to ex­pe­dite the pro­cess­ing and is­suance of na­tional and lo­cal per­mits, li­censes and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in times of na­tional emer­gency,” the au­thors said.

They added: “More­over, this bill shall cover all agen­cies of the ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ments, bu­reaus, of­fices, com­mis­sions board, coun­cils and even gov­ern­men­towned and con­trolled cor­po­ra­tions.”

HB 7884 grants the Pres­i­dent the power to sus­pend the re­quire­ments for na­tional and lo­cal per­mits and stream­line the process for their is­suance.

To fur­ther guar­an­tee com­pli­ance by gov­ern­ment agen­cies and in­stru­men­tal­i­ties, the bill also em­pow­ers the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive to sus­pend or re­move any gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial or em­ployee per­form­ing acts op­posed to the in­tent of the mea­sure.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Leyte Rep. Martin Ro­mualdez thanked col­leagues Satur­day for im­me­di­ately pass­ing on third and fi­nal read­ing the anti-red tape mea­sure.

He said the House, un­der the lead­er­ship of Speaker Lord Allan Ve­lasco, im­me­di­ately gave in to Pres­i­dent Duterte’s call on Congress to im­me­di­ately en­act such pro­posed leg­is­la­tion that would fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, ac­cel­er­ate the so­cioe­co­nomic re­cov­ery of the coun­try, and en­sure the prompt de­liv­ery of pub­lic ser­vices in times of na­tional emer­gency such as the present COVID-19 pan­demic. (With a re­port from Charissa M. Lu­ciA­tienza)

JUST LIKE ‘UN­DAS’ – A ven­dor at the Dangwa Flower Mar­ket in Manila is busy pre­par­ing flower ar­range­ments as de­mand soared early with many ceme­tery go­ers elect­ing to visit their de­parted loved ones ahead of the clo­sure or­der on all ceme­ter­ies, me­mo­rial parks, and colum­baria on All Saints' Day and All Souls Day, which are still two weeks away. (Jansen Romero)

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