THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has asked government agencies to extend the validity of permits while the public faces mobility restrictions during the pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, the regulator said that the validity of permits, licenses, and other government authorizations should be extended, except in the case of “authorizations that may pose danger to public health and security.”

In a report sent to the Office of the President, ARTA recommended incentivizing the use of online platforms and suspending fees for initial business registrations of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.

Such fees should also be waived for “startups and those falling within the gig economy,” ARTA said.

Government agencies are also in talks to potentially exempt startups from some business permit requirements, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

Lockdown restrictions have been tightened for two weeks as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases surge. Only essential travel will be allowed to and from Metro Manila and nearby provinces, or the so-called “NCR Plus” bubble.

ARTA, after reviewing 48 compliance reports from National Government agencies, said that almost 97% of more than 1,500 services comply with the prescribed processing time under Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The law prescribes processing times of three working days for simple transactions, seven working days for complex transactions, and 20 working days for highly technical applications or when the safety of the public or national security needs to be considered.

The agency also endorsed the issuance of executive orders streamlining government services for the telecommunications, logistics, socialized housing, and energy sectors. — Jenina P. Ibañez