Press Release
August 8, 2010


Echoing President Aquino's call to accelerate business activity in the country, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged Congress to pass the "Anti-Red Tape Law" in order to address worsening bureaucratic red tape in the country.

"Bureaucratic red tape is one of the biggest deterrent to investment. Many government offices over-regulate and unnecessarily lengthen the procedures for securing basic government services. Worse, some government employees require "informal payments" or bribes, more commonly known as "lagay," as a condition to any action or request," said Angara who is also the author of Ombudsman Law and the Government Procurement Reform Act, the biggest anti-corruption law in the country.

He added, "This well-founded perception of inertia of government agencies and offices has not only frustrated the delivery of vital government services to the public, it has also made potential investors hesitant about doing business in the country."

The country showed poor performance in terms of opening and closing businesses, ranking 140th out of 181 in the Doing Business 2009. The country's overall ranking in terms of ease in conducting business declined by four notches from last year's 136. Our Southeast Asian counterparts have also overtaken us, with Singapore ranking first overall. The survey measures the following business indicators: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing business.

Another survey conducted by the WB and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) concluded that foreign firms used 4% of their revenues as bribe money, 1.8% for local firms, and 3.8% for firms in special economic zones.

"Through the Anti-Red Tape Law, we will require all agencies and offices that provide frontline services to regularly undergo evaluation and modernization of their transaction systems and procedures. If necessary, they will have to re-engineer the same if deemed necessary to cut red tape and expedite public service," said Angara.

This measure will speed up transactions in government offices by limiting the action time on simple and complex transactions. It will also limit the signatories of documents to the officers and employees directly supervising the office where a particular transaction is being acted upon.

"I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pursue this because it will ensure the efficient and effective delivery of government services by simplifying procedures as opposed to burdensome and complex regulations. Further, requiring immediate action in the handling of government transactions and consequently will curb opportunities for graft and corruption," said Angara, President of the Southeast Asia Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC).

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