House vows passage of bill enabling President to expedite issuance of permits, licenses during national emergencies

Published October 14, 2020, 6:11 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House of Representatives vowed on Wednesday (Oct. 14) to expeditiously pass a measure seeking to authorize the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certificates during times of national emergencies. 

House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez welcomed Duterte’s certification of Senate Bill No. 1844, which grants him anti-red tape powers to accelerate the country’s socioeconomic recovery.

“House leaders under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco are in full agreement with the Chief Executive to fast-track the approval

of all pending measures related to the anti-red tape and anti-corruption campaign of the government,” he said in a statement. 

“The President is tired of continued corruption. He wants a legacy that genuine reforms are implemented under his term. He stressed that any delay in the release of business permits is tantamount to corruption,” the House leader noted. 

Romualdez said the 299 members of the House are  “readying a proposed law” that would grant the Chief Executive the authority to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the processing for the issuance of the same.

In his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III dated Oct. 14, Duterte cited the “necessity” to immediately enact SB No. 1844  “to 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.”

After receiving the presidential certification, the Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading SB 1844.

SB 1844 was authored by Sotto, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson.

Cebu City 2nd District Rep.  Rodrigo Abellanosa recently filed a similar measure. 

Under House Bill No. 7831, he proposed that the President be granted the authority to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the processing for the issuance thereof. 

“By streamlining such regulatory activities, contact and exposure may be minimized for such transactions, at the same time, shortening the turnover periods for the same which will redound to more robust activities for business,” Abellanosa said. 

Covered by the bill are all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils, government instrumentalities, government-owned and controlled corporations, (GOCCs) and the local government units (LGUs).

Under HB No. 7831, the President, in times of national emergency, shall have the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications fro permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations including fixing or shortening the periods provided fro under existing laws, regulations, regulations, issuances, and ordinances.

The bill also authorizes the Chief Executive to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations.

Abellanosa’s measure also authorizes the President to suspend or remove, upon the determination of a competent body, any government official or employee who violates the proposed Act.