Solon seeks performance commitments on Ease of Doing Biz bill

MANILAA lawmaker in the House of Representatives on Friday urged implementing agencies to submit to Congress by March a timeline on how the different components of the Ease of Doing Business bill would be implemented.

In a statement, Leyte Rep. Henry Ong said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other implementing agencies should be laying down the systems, processes, and procedures in eliminating red tape nationwide.

"They should also be crafting and implementing rules and regulations by now and not until the bill becomes law," Ong said.

"We want SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) performance commitments by which Congress can hold the implementing agencies accountable," he added.

The bill, which is now awaiting President Rodrigo R. Duterte's signature, seeks to amend the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 as it sets shorter processing time for application for business permits and will require few number of signatories, among others.

The bill covers business-related transactions from all government offices and agencies including local government units (LGUs), government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other government instrumentalities, whether located in the Philippines or abroad.

Ong said Congress wants to determine how the DTI and other agencies are preparing the LGUs for their role in improving domestic business environment.

"Among the most crucial parts are those involving provincial, city, and municipal governments where competitiveness capacities and readiness are uneven," Ong said.

The Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act directs all LGUs to set up a one-stop business facilitation service or "business one-stop shop." It will receive and process manual and/or electronic submission of application for license, clearance, permit or authorization.

The business one-stop shop shall feature the co-location of the offices of the treasury, business permit and licensing office, zoning office, Bureau of Fire Prevention, and other relevant departments engaged in starting a business or dealing with construction permits.

Under the measure, LGUs are mandated to automate their business permitting and licensing system or set up an electronic business one-stop shop within a period of three years upon enactment.

"Also, of particular interest to us in Congress are the information technology systems. When will all the LGUs and concerned national agencies be online and operational for real-time transactions?," Ong said.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the measure could very well shoot up investor preference for the Philippines "through the roof."

"Nothing attracts foreign investors to a country like having the government's assurance that the processing and release of licenses and permits would be fast, hassle-free, and efficient. Even local businesses are bound to thrive with this new law in place," Nograles said.

Nograles, who is a principal author of the bill, said spirit of the measure reflects the culture of efficiency that President Duterte promoted when he was still Davao City mayor.

The Duterte has included this measure as among his administration's priority bills to boost domestic business environment and encourage more foreign investments.

Source: Philippine News Agency