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Shorter Permit Process a Boon to PHL Economy

President Duterte’s call for government agencies to issue permits within three days is a boon for social services and the economy in general.


It will not only help eliminate red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy but will also boost economic activities, which are currently restrained by the slow pace of the government approval process.


Red tape is an old bureaucratic problem where many agencies get involved in issuing their signatures. Under President Duterte’s order, as spelled out in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22, the processing of permits should last a maximum of three days.


To achieve this, government agencies and local government units should do away with the cumbersome process of so many agencies involved in the issuance of permits. A central bureau should be in charge to trim down the multiple layers of the permitting process.


The fact that President Duterte used his fourth Sona to order agencies to streamline the permitting process means he is sincere in eradicating red tape in the bureaucracy. Officials and lawmakers should take seriously and heed the call of the president, and not introduce new rules that may cause more administrative problems in the future.


Streamlining the permitting process into a three-day period is in line with Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which Duterte signed into law in May 2018 and whose implementing rules and regulations were issued in June this year.


The new law, which amended the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, aims to enhance the Philippine business environment and improve the country’s ranking in global competitiveness reports.


Much remains to be done if we are to believe the results of “Doing Business 2019” report by the World Bank, where the Philippines ranked No. 124 in a field of 190 countries in terms of “ease of doing business.”


I believe that by observing the three-day permit processing rule, we can easily climb higher in the World Bank rankings and other global competitiveness reports prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development.


The Philippines placed 56 out of 140 countries in the WEF Global Competitiveness Index 2018 and 46 out of 63 economies in IMD’s 2019 World Competitiveness Ranking.


President Duterte’s order for the three-day period is also consistent with the IRR of RA 11032 which prescribes the “3-7-20” rule. This means that simple transactions should be completed within three days, complex transactions within seven days, and highly technical transactions within 20 days.


As most government transactions are considered basic or simple, they should be granted permits within three days.


The new law established the Anti-Red Tape Authority but requires all government offices and agencies in the executive department, including local government units and government-owned and -controlled corporations to comply with the rule. It covers all business-related and nonbusiness transactions like permitting, licensing and the issuance of any privilege, right, reward, clearance authorization or concession and frontline services.


Business groups expressed support for the implementation of RA 11032 and lauded President Duterte for his three-day rule in the permitting process. The Federation of Philippine Industries, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Philippine Exporters Confederation described his order to ease of doing business in the country by cutting red tape as a confidence builder.


They agree that by making transactions easier and faster, corruption will be avoided and more businesses, including small and medium enterprises, will thrive.


For me, Duterte’s Sona on July 22 should serve as a wake-up call on government agencies to simplify their transactions so that they can become more efficient and allow businesses and ordinary citizens to have a faster transaction and more pleasant experience in government offices.