Bill allowing President to take actions over red tape hurdles 2nd reading at Senate

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 08:55 PM

An elderly man talks to an SSS teller at the Social Security System (SSS) main office in Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Senate on Monday passed on second reading a bill that would allow the President of the country to expedite the processing of documents, nearly a month after President Rodrigo Duterte met with Congress leaders over anti-corruption and red tape measures.

If passed into law, Senate Bill No. 1844 will allow the President to "suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications" to "accelerate and streamline regulatory processes" in government.

The measure also enables the President to "suspend or remove government officials" should it be proven that they deliberately slowed down the processing of permits, licenses and other documentary requirement.

"This is a good accompanying measure to the Ease of Doing Business [Act]," Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said in plenary.

"The president will now be emboldened to remove more people for their ineptitude and incompetence in government service," Zubiri said.

The Senate is waiting for the executive department to certify the measure as urgent so that senators will not be required to wait for at least 3 days before passing it on final reading, he said.

In September, Duterte invited Senate and House leaders in Malacañang to ask for the passage of a measure that would "reduce if not totally eliminate red tape and corruption" in government.

A Senate panel earlier found that of the 3,924 complaints filed before the Anti-Red Tape Authority, only 7 cases were filed in court since 2018.