Manila Bulletin

Re­duced red tape saves telco, lo­gis­tics ₱2.4 B

- By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT Business · World Bank · F.C. Internazionale Milano · U.S. Food and Drug Administration · U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The manda­tory stream­lin­ing of the pro­cesses for the telco tow­ers and lo­gis­tics sec­tors in the coun­try would re­sult in sub­stan­tial sav­ings of more than R2.4 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Anti-Red Tape Au­thor­ity (ARTA) Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Jeremiah Bel­gica.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion be­fore the Philip­pine Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (PCCI) Min­danao, Bel­gica said the re­duced red tape in these two sec­tors was com­puted based on the stan­dard cost model cal­cu­la­tion of the World Bank. The stream­lined process was a re­sult of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Ef­fort for the Har­mo­niza­tion of Ef­fi­cient Mea­sures of In­ter-re­lated Agen­cies (NE­HEMIAH) Pro­gram. The sec­toral-based stream­lin­ing ef­fort tar­gets to re­duce the time, cost, re­quire­ments, and pro­ce­dures in sec­tors of eco­nomic and so­cial sig­nif­i­cance by 52 per­cent within 52 weeks.

Pro­gram NEHEMIA is pur­suant to Rule III Sec­tion 3 of the Im­ple­ment­ing Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of Repub­lic Act 11032 which man­dates ARTA to adopt a whole-of-gov­ern­ment ap­proach in the stream­lin­ing of gov­ern­ment ser­vices.

Ac­cord­ing to Bel­gica, PreNEHEMIA­H, both sec­tors have com­bined ex­pen­di­tures of R3.254 bil­lion as against R830.626 mil­lion only af­ter NE­HEMIAH.

Bel­gica said the stag­ger­ing ex­penses rep­re­sent tar­iff for com­pa­nies and pro­fes­sion­als, mid­dle­men, and op­por­tu­nity cost in the sec­tor.

Bro­ken down, the lo­gis­tics sec­tor alone would spend R378.833 mil­lion only af­ter the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­form un­der the NE­HEMIAH Pro­gram as against the stag­ger­ing R2.229-bil­lion cost be­fore the re­form. This would trans­late in to­tal sec­toral sav­ings of R1.92 bil­lion.

With ARTA’s is­suance of the manda­tory com­pli­ance order, the lo­gis­tics sec­tor would have stream­lined their pro­ce­dural steps by 88 per­cent and time spend for pro­cess­ing cut by 87 per­cent.

For the telco tow­ers, Bel­gica said the sec­tor would spend only R451.792 mil­lion or less than half of the R1.025 bil­lion ex­penses that rep­re­sent the cost of li­cens­ing for 10,000 tow­ers be­fore the stream­lin­ing of the sec­tor’s pro­cesses.

The re­duced cost would trans­late in R573.963-mil­lion sec­toral sav­ings. As a re­sult, Bel­gica said there will be ad­di­tional 5,000 tow­ers by end this year al­though the coun­try needs 50,000 telco tow­ers to be com­pet­i­tive.

LGU per­mit­ting was also re­duced by 38 per­cent, the doc­u­men­tary re­quire­ments by 59 per­cent and time spent to process was cut by 93 per­cent.

These two sec­tors were forced to stream­line their pro­cesses and fast tracked the is­suance of per­mits and li­censes fol­low­ing the com­pli­ance or­ders is­sued by ARTA to lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUs) with pend­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from telco com­pa­nies and the adop­tion of sin­gle pass for the lo­gis­tics play­ers.

“Im­ple­men­ta­tion is gain­ing mo­men­tum,” said Bel­gica.

Bel­gica stressed that gone are the days for the quota sys­tem, sit­ting on doc­u­ments and mak­ing peo­ple wait while gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees are on noon break.

Gov­ern­ment agen­cies are given 3-7-20 days to ap­prove or dis­ap­prove a com­plete ap­pli­ca­tion.

Bel­gica also noted the var­i­ous cases they have led at the om­buds­man against gov­ern­ment agency of­fi­cials and LGU of­fi­cials for their fail­ure to com­ply.

Vi­o­la­tions un­der the law in­clude ad­min­is­tra­tive liability and sus­pen­sion, but out­right dis­missal and charges for of

cials in­volved with xing and or col­lu­sion with xers.

The mis­sion is daunt­ing given the more than 10,000 gov­ern­ment agen­cies both na­tional and lo­cal plus 42,000 barangays, but Bel­gica said “If we stream­line, we won’t give op­por­tu­nity for cor­rup­tion to hap­pen.”

As the pro­cesses have been stream­lined, the gov­ern­ment is now launch­ing the au­to­ma­tion of all gov­ern­ment ap­pli­ca­tions un­der the Cen­tral Busi­ness Por­tal.

“So yes, it is true that com­ing from a stand­still po­si­tion but it is re­ally gain­ing mo­men­tum,” he added.

He cited the case of the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion which was forced to com­ply with the ARTA order to ap­prove the pend­ing thou­sands of re­newal ap­pli­ca­tions, which were sup­posed to be ap­proved au­to­mat­i­cally.

“FDA is a chal­lenged agency when it comes to red tape. If FDA could re­form then all agen­cies could do it. Penal­ties are very steep,” he warned.

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