Press Release
October 14, 2020

Senate Bill Granting Anti-Red Tape Emergency Powers to President Approved on Third Reading, Certified as Urgent by Palace

Just a day after it sailed through its second reading approval, Senate Bill No. 1844, an Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses, and Certifications in Times of National Emergency, was approved today on third and final reading, upon President Rodrigo Duterte certifying its urgent enactment.

"We thank the President for certifying this measure as urgent," said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, sponsor and one of the principal authors of the bill, along with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

The bill garnered twenty-three affirmative votes, no negative notes, and no abstentions on third reading.

"This is a short and simple measure, but a very important and timely one," he said. "So it's good that we have the President's certification to get this approved immediately. We need this measure for our ongoing recovery efforts from the pandemic."

"We hope that with this certification, and with the third reading approval of the measure, the executive can begin reviewing our bureaucratic processes, and make it even shorter than the twenty-, seven-, and three-day periods we mandated in the Ease of Doing Business Act."

The bill will grant the President temporary powers to expedite the processing of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications in times of national emergency, such as the current pandemic. Zubiri has pointed to the telecommunications industry in particular as one of the industries that needs to expedite its processes, in order to provide necessary service to households requiring internet access for online classes, small online businesses, and work-from-home setups.

The bill also reiterates the President's powers to suspend or remove erring government officials or employees as provided under the measure.

In the President's letter, he writes that the certification is "to facilitate the economic activity, accelerate the socioeconomic recovery of the country, and ensure the prompt delivery of public services in times of a national emergency such as the present COVID-19 pandemic."

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