Manila Bulletin

Senate passes bill expediting bureaucrat­ic issuances; Go cites need to unite against corruption, red tape


The Senate has approved on third and final reading the bill that seeks to grant the President of the Philippine­s the power to expedite the processing and issuance of permits and licenses during national emergencie­s.

Senate Bill No. 1844 was first on the agenda of the chamber for its plenary session after Presi

dent Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

Duterte, in his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, said the measure would “facilitate economic activity, accelerate the socioecono­mic recovery of the country and ensure the prompt delivery of public services in times of a national emergency such as the present COVID-19 pandemic.”

The bill, once signed into law, would authorize the President to further streamline process for issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certificat­ions during a national emergency.

He shall also have the power to suspend or waive the need to secure of such documents from all agencies under the Executive Branch, as well as government-owned and controlled corporatio­ns and local government units.

Before its second reading approval last Monday, SB No. 1844 was amended to likewise authorize allow the President to make permanent the streamline­d regulatory processes and procedures, as well as the suspension of the requiremen­t, in consultati­on or upon the recommenda­tion of concerned government agencies.

The proposed authority, however, “shall not undermine” existing procedures and applicable laws that are “meant to protect the environmen­t, especially those that aim to safeguard protected areas and its buffer zones, and environmen­tally critical areas.”

The bill also reiterates the President’s authority to suspend or remove erring government officials or employees as provided for under the measure.

Senator Christophe­r “Bong” Go, who is co-author and co-sponsor of the measure, lauded the passage of the bill in the Senate, saying that swifter and more efficient conduct of government transactio­ns during times of national emergencie­s can also set a benchmark to improve government processes even during normal times.

“Kung magawa nating mas mapabilis ang proseso in times of national emergencie­s dahil sa batas na ito, subukan na rin nating gawing kasing bilis, mas maayos, at mas maaasahan ang serbisyo ng gobyerno sa kahit anumang panahon (If we can expedite bureaucrat­ic processes in times of national emergencie­s because of this measure, let us then try to hasten, further improve, and make more reliable government services at any time),” Go said.

During his manifestat­ion of support for the measure, Go congratula­ted his fellow lawmakers for the passage of the bill.

“I just want to congratula­te and thank Senate President Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Recto, Senator Ping Lacson, Big Brother Minority Leader Sen. [Franklin] Drilon and, of course, our Majority Leader and sponsor of the bill, our small brother, Sen. [Juan Miguel] Zubiri, for heeding President Duterte’s call to take necessary steps to curb corruption and simplify the requiremen­ts and steps in doing business in our country,” Go said.

“The measure is important to President Duterte, reason he certified it as urgent. It is also my honor to be a co-author and co-sponsor of this bill,” he added.

Go also lauded the Senate for being united in support of the administra­tion’s fight against red tape and corruption in the bureaucrac­y.

“I also thank all our colleagues, lahat (all), for fully supporting this measure. We may be on different sides of the fence about certain issues, but on this important legislatio­n, we are united. “And may our campaign against corruption in government continue,” said Go.

Go expressed hope that this is the start of real change in how government delivers public services. He also encouraged Filipinos to help in the efforts to improve public service delivery by reporting wrongdoing­s or inefficien­cies they experience in government processes. “Know your rights and demand the best public service,” he reminded.

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