Foreign chambers back bill on faster permits issuance

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign chambers in the country are supporting the bill seeking to give the President the power to expedite the issuance of permits in times of emergencies, saying  this will help the business community and the economy recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

While the bill is seen as a positive development, foreign businesses are recommending the conduct of an assessment by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) of all actions taken using powers under the bill to make sure gains in reducing red tape will be sustained.

In its position paper addressed to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri who also serves as chair of the ease of doing business subcommittee, the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) said they welcome Senate Bill 1844 to make it easier to do business during this difficult time.

“We have reviewed SB 1844 and could not agree more with the rationale of its authors acting with a sense of urgency to rescue the Philippine economy and the struggling industries and businesses gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” JFC said.

Under SB 1844, the President will have the power to expedite processes for pending applications for national and local permits, licenses, certifications and authorization.

The President will also be authorized to suspend or waive requirements for permits.

JFC said reducing the burden on doing business would not just be beneficial for businesses, but also help accelerate recovery and achieve higher economic growth.

“If this reform succeeds, there will be more FDI (foreign direct investments) for the Philippines as the country acquires a reputation for a bureaucracy that supports rather than hinders business,” JFC said.

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