THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has urged the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to take part in the crafting of the Ease of Doing Business law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) after the former criticized the “delay” in its completion.
“Meanwhile, instead of issuing press statements, I am extending this invitation to the PACC to be actively involved in the crafting of the IRR for RA [Republic Act] 11032,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement on Friday, adding that it has sent a draft of the IRR copy to the PACC.
The agency was responding to PACC’s statement last week urging the DTI to fast-track the release of the IRR as the “delay” was raising worries across businesses.
The DTI added there is no delay in the IRR’s release as the EoDB Act of 2018 set its maximum completion period at 90 working days starting the law’s effectivity period on June 17.
Going by this, the deadline for the IRR is on Oct. 22, contrary to the PACC’s claims that the deadline is by end-September or 90 days from the signing date on May 28.
At present, the agency’s Competitiveness Bureau (CB), the temporary secretariat of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), “is following a strict timeline and a broad-based consultative process,” Mr. Lopez said.
“We are now in the stage of analyzing, and questioning the working draft and testing its possible impact using a public consultation process. We are bringing the proposed IRR to where it matters most, the Filipino citizen. Even as we speak, there are three teams that have been deployed to the regions that are currently holding public consultations,” the Trade chief said.
“We are effectively covering both public and private, gathering their comments, suggestions, and even complaints about government services to ensure that this IRR will be a regulation that is both effective and efficient.”
The official said the drafting of specific provision involved coordination with the departments of Interior and Local Government and Information and Communications Technology, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Other agencies consulted for the draft are the Department of Finance, Philippine Statistic Authority, the Cooperative Development Authority, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ombudsman, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.
It has also gone through consultative meetings and briefing sessions with several other agencies.
“We are very mindful of the legislative intent of the EODB-EGSD Act, its impact on government employees, and its huge potential to improve ease of doing business in the country. Thus, it is incumbent upon us in the executive branch to ensure that we come up with an IRR that is well designed. After all, this will serve as the guideline for all implementing agencies,” Mr. Lopez said.
“We deem it more prudent to undertake a carefully crafted, broad-based consultative process that will result in an IRR that is both responsive and clear.”
Mr. Lopez noted that the CB is just a temporary secretariat of the ARTA pending the appointment of the Director General of the agency who will also be the signatory of the IRR.
“But [the CB] has been actively involved in the transition process, by drafting the IRR, securing budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and OP, and spearheading information campaigns and consultations,” the Trade chief said.
The ARTA is the agency tasked to monitor government offices’ compliance with the law.
Under the EoDB law, all applications or requests submitted should be approved or disapproved by government offices not longer than three working days, for transactions categorized as “simple” and seven working days for “complex” ones.
For “highly technical ones” or requests “involving activities which pose danger to public health, public safety, public morals [and] public policy,” the prescribed processing time should not exceed 20 working days.
However, several agencies agencies have raised that some of the applications they process cannot be categorized in such way as some require undergoing quasi-judicial proceedings.
The DTI said they are resolving the issue by recognizing these quasi-judicial functions by providing a clear definition of “frontline transaction” among other ways.
Officials who violate the law the first time will be suspended for six months.
Meanwhile, second-time offenders can be imprisoned from one to six years with a fine of at least P500,000. This comes with dismissal from the service, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits. — Janina C. Lim