IRR issued for Ease of Doing Business Act
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The much-awaited implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act, which provides a required period for government transactions to be completed, was finally signed by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Civil Service Commission (CSC) yesterday.

While the IRR has been issued, ARTA will issue separate guidelines for agencies with quasi-judicial functions that may require a longer time to complete their processes.

In a press conference yesterday, newly appointed ARTA director general Jeremiah Belgica said the IRR would be effective 15 days after its publication.

Business groups have been waiting for the issuance of the IRR for Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the EODB Act which seeks to do away with bureaucratic red tape in government by prescribing the “3-7-20” rule wherein simple transactions would have to be completed within three days, those classified as complex within seven days, and highly technical ones within 20 days.

It took more than a year for the IRR to be issued as the head of the ARTA was only appointed earlier this month.

The law requires for the IRR to be issued by the heads of the ARTA, DTI and CSC.

The EODB Act and IRR will apply to all government offices and agencies in the executive department, including local government units, government-owned and controlled corporations, as well both business-related and non-business transactions like permitting, licensing and the issuance of any privilege, right, reward, clearance authorization or concession, and frontline services.

ARTA deputy director general Ernesto Perez said the law requires all agencies to submit their citizen’s charter which would include information on requirements for each application, time it would take for the transaction to be completed, as well as fees.

While agencies with quasi-judicial functions are still covered by the law, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said those with special laws providing a period for the transaction to be completed would prevail.

“Quasi-judicial in effect is covered, but it will be based on particular laws or rules pertaining to those functions,” he said.

Belgica said guidelines on how to treat agencies with quasi-judicial functions would be issued later on.

“Our point is, red tape can also be committed by quasi-judicial (agencies). We believe if it will cause suffering to people, the President would not want this. But as to the implementation, can we suspend them or file cases? It is not specified by the law but we will be issuing the guidelines with due consultation with them,” he said.

Violations of the law would result in administrative liability with six months suspension for the first offense, while the second offense would mean dismissal from office, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits and imprisonment of one year to six years with a fine not less than P500,000 up to P2 million.

Complaints may be filed with the authority through ARTA’s website, social media pages and even via text message.

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