House approves bill giving the President power to expedite processing of permits and licenses

Published October 16, 2020, 9:46 PM

by Ben 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.

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 Partylist 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 government owned- 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 the authority to suspend or remove any government official or employee performing acts opposed to the intent of the measure.