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The House of Representatives on Friday night approved on third and final reading a measure granting President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications during national emergencies.

With 267 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstention, the chamber approved House Bill No. 7884, granting Duterte anti-red tape powers.

The third reading approval came after it was approved on second reading on the same day. President Duterte has certified the bill as urgent, which lifts the “three-day” rule between the second and third readings.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco led the filing of the bill, which aims to accelerate the country’s socio-economic recovery and ensure an effective government response to the present health crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The bill gives Duterte the authority to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the process of issuance.

The bill covers all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils, government instrumentalities, and government-owned and controlled corporations.

“One of the strategic measures is to reduce transaction costs in all government agencies and provide efficient delivery of its services while maintaining integrity and accountability in government service and the promotion of transparency in the transactions of the government with the public, encompassing a program for the adoption of simplified requirements and procedures,” they said.

The proposed law empowers the President to fix or shorten the periods for the processing and release of these documents.

It also grants the President the power to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations.

Under the measure, the President has the power to suspend or remove any government official or employee performing acts contrary to the measure consistent with Article VII Sections 1 and 17 of the Constitution, the Revised Administrative Code, other existing laws, and jurisprudence.

The Senate has approved the measure on third reading after Duterte certified the bill as urgent. (PNA)

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