Press Release
September 20, 2018

Zubiri urges President Duterte to appoint the Anti-Red Tape czar

Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, sponsor of the Ease of Doing Business Law, urged the President to appoint the Anti-Red Tape Authority czar.

"We want business and livelihoods to move fast. Our citizens need government services for all their needs. That's why we crafted a law to speed up transactions. I certainly hope it won't be government who's violating its own laws," Senator Zubiri said.

"Its title has business in it, but, we want ordinary Filipinos, not just big business, to get the full benefits of the law. The essence of the law is to raise the bar for all government agencies. We're not asking for lightning speed, but we deserve better than business-as-usual. It's almost four months since the passage of the law, yet, no one is wielding the whip. We needed an Anti-Red Tape czar, yesterday," said Zubiri.

"The Anti-red Tape Czar and the Anti-red Tape Authority would be the one we would go to for all our complaints on red tape and "pangongotong" by government agencies both local and national."

"The Czar is mandated to immediately investigate these accusations of violation of this Law. The Czar is also mandated to file the necessary cases with the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission on the violators of the Anti-red tape law."

"Alam naman natin na takot ang mga negosyante mag sumbong at mag file nang kaso sa mga government agencies kaya yan na ang trabaho nang Anti-red tape Czar."

"We crafted the EODB law and amended the 11-year-old ARTA for everyone, hoping that the small entrepreneurs generating more than 80% of business activities and employing millions will benefit. If business moves fast because of the EODB law, we can drive our anti-poverty agenda faster. As of now, despite our high-quality produce, hardworking labor and innovation masters, we continue to be laggards as no one cracks the whip on foot dragging agencies. We need a man at the helm."

Designed to eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks and red tape that hamper transactions between businesses and the government, the EODB Act shall foster a "culture of trust among government agencies and businessmen-to give the businessmen applying for permits, licenses, and certifications the presumption of regularity for their businesses. Under the law, prescribed processing times for transactions were set as follows: three to five working days for simple transactions, and seven to ten working days for complex ones, with a ceiling of twenty working days for highly technical applications," Zubiri explained.

"We also provided the appointment of a Director-General for the Authority, as czar, to oversee its implementation. The ARTA czar is to be appointed by the President, co-terminus with his tenure."

Zubiri said he received reports from small entrepreneurs writing him and through Industry Chambers of the continuing delays and obstacles to engage in business.

"The latest came from farmers who want to process their crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries harvested from their organic farms. Organic agriculture is burdened by red tape and exorbitant fees. Organic farmers are charged by the DOST- and FDA-accredited Third Party certifier from P45k to P150k per farm per commodity, per year." The report arose from the Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on Organic Agriculture held last week chaired by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.

"We're missing out on the organics market worldwide since very few farms can afford that yearly certification thus can't price their produce the premium price that consumers are willing to pay. The organics market is expected to grow to $323.56 Billion in six years, or in 2024." Zubiri is the main author of the Organic Agriculture law passed in 2010.

"The housing sector is similarly affected wherein developers for mid-range housing units are bearing the burden of excessive delays thus affecting their roll-out to low-income buyers. All micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses don't have the luxury of time. Delays are triple burdens and magnify their expenses."

"The laggard government agencies are virtually telling farmers, business, and industry that it's hard to do business. Similarly, foreign investors are driven away by the voluminous documentation and long waiting time required of them. We lose out in billions worth of opportunities and millions of jobs."

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