Press Release
September 25, 2020

SBN 1844

THE GOVERNMENT must protect the business industry from shaking during national emergencies that are seen to significantly impact the country as worse as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had hit the economy, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and four other senators have stressed.

To facilitate this and guarantee continuous economic movement during a national crisis, Sotto, along with Senators Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Franklin Drilon and Panfilo Lacson have filed proposed Senate Bill No. 1844 which seeks to authorize the president in times of national emergency to suspend the requirements for the issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certificates, effectively expediting and streamlining the lengthy process of investing in the country.

"We need to make sure that business activities do not freeze when a national emergency in the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic happen in the future. We cannot afford a stagnant economy during times when we are struggling against the devastating effects of a public health crisis or a natural or man-made catastrophe," Sotto said.

The Senate President said government must guarantee the survival of businesses and investments by removing stumbling blocks, such as complicated and extended permitting processes, that could slow down or cause a stoppage of the economy.

"Mahalagang siguruhin natin ang patuloy na pagpasok ng mga investors sa ating bansa nang sa ganun ay hindi babagsak muli ang ating ekonomiya. Matindi ang naging epekto ng COVID-19 pandemic sa ating bansa dahil huminto ang operasyon ng ating mga businesses, pati na rin ang pagpasok ng mga bagong investments. Hindi na maaaring maulit ito," Sotto said.

In filing SBN 1844, the five senators want to authorize the president, in times of national emergencies, to hasten and shorten regulatory processes for new and pending applications for national and local permits, licenses, certifications and authorizations.

The bill likewise allows the president to suspend or waive the requirements in securing the documentary requirements.

It also empowers the president to suspend or remove erring or non-compliant government officials or employees.

"While this may be a small step, it surely can create a significant impact on all enterprises... this Act could be one of the needed breathers of crumbling enterprises. And ultimately, this will redound to the benefit of our economy and encourage investors to capitalize in the country," the senators said.

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