Another bill proposed by Third District Rep. Arthur Yap in the House of Representatives was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte, in the presence of Congress and Business leaders, signed into law Republic Act11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act that was pushed by Yap, who chairs the House Committee on Economics Affairs.
The new law effectively amends the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 and seeks to make the process of putting up and running a business in the Philippines easier and more efficient.
“With the new law, government agencies and units will be required to act on all applications for permits, licenses and authorizations within a given period of time or else, the erring officials will be sanctioned not only administratively but criminally as well,” according to Yap, the law’s principal author.
The new law has at least 12 key features. It include a provision on the prescribed processing time wherein “simple transactions of business entities with government should be processed within three days, seven days for more substantial transactions, and 20 days for highly technical transactions”.
Another feature is the streamlined procedures for the Issuance of Local Business Licenses, Clearance, Permits or Authorization through unified business application forms, establishment of one stop shops, automation of business permits and licenses.
Other key features are the streamlined procedures for securing fire clearances and certificates is also one of the key features; and automatic approval in case an agency fails to approve or disapprove an original application within the prescribed processing time.
Another key feature is the provision that “all government agencies are mandated to set up current and updated checklist of requirements for each type of application or request, person/s responsible for each step, amount of fees, maximum time to complete the process and the procedure for filing complaints.
The provision on “zero contact policy” provides that “save for the ‘preliminary assessment’ of the business application and submitted requirements, ‘no government officer or employee shall have any contact, in any manner, unless strictly necessary with any applicant or requesting party concerning an application or request’. The provision is designed to eliminate corruption in agencies that process business applications.
The law also provides for DICT to establish central business portal to receive and capture application data on business related transactions and provide links to online registration of national government agencies.
It also provides for the establishment of the Philippine Data Bank (PBD) which shall provide NGAs and LGUs access to data and information to verify existence of business entities. Applicants need not submit the same documentary requirements previously submitted.
Processing and approval of licenses, clearances, permits or authorizations for the installation and operation of telecommunication, broadcast towers, facilities, equipment and service shall be expedited.
It also provides for the creation of Anti-Red Tape Authority under the Office of the President which shall among others implement national policy on anti-red tape and ease of doing business and implement reforms to improve competitivenesss ranking.
The law also provides for the creation of a seven member Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Council chaired by the DTI Secretary, ARTA Director General as vice-chair, DOF, DICT, and DILG Secretaries , and two representatives from the private sector as members.
For the penalties for violations, the law provides for two-strike policy for government officials found in violation of EODB/EGSDA which imposes administrative liability with six months suspension for the first offense and administrative and criminal liability of imprisonment of one year to six years.
“This landmark law will make it faster and cheaper to do business in the Philippines. But we are not yet done, because amendments in the Corporation Code, Retail Trade Law, and the Financial Inclusion Act, which effectively modernizes the Warehouse Receipts Law and the Chattel Mortgage Law are needed to give that full measure of support and services to our MSME’s. This will keep up the momentum of growth and expansion of our economy,” according to Yap.