HOUSE LEGISLATORS have filed their bill which would grant the President authorization to reduce red tape powers during national emergencies such as the current pandemic.
Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco and Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez led the filing Thursday of House Bill (HB) No. 7884, giving the President the power to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits.
The bill’s authors include deputy speakers Michael L. Romero and Salvador C. Leachon, and House committee on trade and industry chair Weslie T. Gatchalian.
HB 7884 aims to “accelerate and streamline” regulatory processes for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications and authorizations in all agencies of the Executive branch.
The measure, however, cannot be used to “undermine the existing procedures and processes, under applicable laws, rules and regulations, meant to protect the environment, especially those that aim to safeguard protected areas and its buffer zones, and environmentally critical areas.”
The bill also grants the President power to suspend or remove any government official or employee violating the proposed law.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has repeatedly expressed frustration over the slow workings of the bureaucracy.
Mr. Duterte wants government agencies to be more responsive during the pandemic “to facilitate our country’s economic activity and accelerate socioeconomic recovery, for the betterment of our people,” The President’s Spokesman Herminio L. Roque said in a statement Thursday.
The Senate version of the bill passed on final reading after the President certified it as urgent Wednesday, which allowed the measure to skip the three-day waiting period after second-reading approval Tuesday.
The Congress will start a month-long break on Friday.
“Upon the directive of the President and the instruction of Speaker Velasco, the House of Representatives will work on the passage of the anti-red tape measure before we adjourn the special session,” Mr. Romualdez, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, said in a statement. “We have to help the President in his campaign to put a stop to deep-rooted, systemic and systematic corruption in government.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza