Ease of Doing Business Act 'revolutionary': lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2018 09:12 PM

Construction workers attach stirrups at a construction site in Quezon City, September 26, 2017. Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The new Ease of Doing Business Act is a "revolutionary" law as it provides parameters in assessing the efficiency of government services, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who headed deliberations on the bill at the House of Representatives, said the recently signed law has a simple message of cutting red tape in the bureaucracy.

"We have to give a positive message from the competitiveness point of view," he told ANC's "Beyond Politics."

"This law is revolutionary because now we have complete parameters in addressing the problem of government efficiency," he added.

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Delivering on a campaign promise to make government transactions faster, President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday the Ease of Doing Business Act.

The law requires government agencies to act on applications within 3 days for simple transactions, 7 days for complex ones, and 20 days for the highly technical.

One-stop shops will be established in every city or town and local government units will be encouraged to automate their permit and license processing systems.

The law, according to Biron, also provides more safeguards against corruption since permit applicants cannot pay fees unless they have the necessary documents for their application.

"There's no discretionary power on the part of the issuing agency kasi doon pa lang sa pagbayad mo, hindi ka puwede magbayad ng corresponding fee unless sasabihin na kumpleto 'yung dokumento mo," he said.

(When you pay, you cannot pay the corresponding fee unless you have complete documents.)

Biron said the law will also help improve the global perception on doing business in the Philippines.

The Philippines recently fell 9 notches in the 2018 World Competitiveness Yearbook, the steepest drop among Southeast Asian nations.

Government efficiency fell 7 notches due to declines in the public finance, business legislation and societal framework sub-indicators, according to the report. The declines were in "perception-based" indicators, it said.

"We need to attract people to invest in our country considering that the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia," Biron said.