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House approves bill to cut red tape

The bill – An Act Establishing a National Policy on Ease of Doing Business, creating for the purpose the ease of doing business commission – got the imprimatur of the committee headed by Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, but it remains unnumbered. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines — The committee on trade and industry of the House of Representatives has approved a substitute bill that seeks to significantly cut bureaucratic red tape in acquiring business permits. 

The bill – An Act Establishing a National Policy on Ease of Doing Business, creating for the purpose the ease of doing business commission – got the imprimatur of the committee headed by Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, but it remains unnumbered.

The measure aims to shorten the processing of applications for business permits and to create a business environment that will be attractive to local and foreign investors.

The bill is a consolidation of seven measures, whose authors are Biron and Representatives Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas, Winston Castelo of Quezon City, LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, and Gus Tambunting of Parañaque, among others. 

Biron said the bill will provide a mechanism for the expeditious approval of business permits and licenses, and harmonize the regulations of national government agencies and local government units.

The bill also prescribes a maximum processing time of one working day at the barangay level, three working days for simple applications, and 10 working days for complex applications.

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It will also provide for the automatic approval and release of business permits upon the lapse of 30 days of inaction, provided that all necessary documents have been submitted. 

In the event that the local government unit or agency fails to process the application within the one-month maximum prescribed period, the application is automatically deemed approved.

The measure also proposes the establishment of a one-stop business facilitation service to be called Business One Stop Shop (BOSS).

BOSS enables city and municipal governments to receive and process manual or electronic submission of license, clearance and permit applications.

Villafuerte attributed the rapid growth of foreign investment in neighboring states due to their simplified procedures and shortened processing period.

“The Philippines is ranked 171st out of 185 economies in the ease of doing business. There are currently 16 procedures and 28 days to start a business, compared to the region’s average of 7 procedures and 23 days,” he pointed out. 

“Basically we want to be at par or maybe better than these regional neighbors,” he said.

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