THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encouraged Cebu-based businesses to file complaints and report on corrupt practices they encounter in government transactions.
“The (ease of doing business) law is in effect already, which entitles everyone to file a complaint. Your support, through filing proper complaints, is very important in enforcing the law and to hold those government employees and officials accountable and liable for wrong practices and making doing business in the country difficult,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez was quoted in a statement as saying.
Mr. Lopez was addressing Cebu’s business community at the Entrepreneurs’ Summit on June 13.
Mr. Lopez noted the two-strike policy for violations, as well as the administrative and criminal liabilities for government employees and officials under Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
The EoDB requires all government agencies to follow a standardized timeline for simple, complex, and highly-technical transactions of three, seven and 20 days, with the classification of the processes to be decided on by each agency.
Officials who violate the law the first time will be suspended for six months while second-time offenders are liable for imprisonment of between one and six years, a fine of at least P500,000, and dismissal from the service, perpetual disqualification from public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Agencies with qausi-judicial functions, however, have raised concerns on implementing the law which was initially meant to address the release ofbusiness permits or certificates.
The implementing rules and regulations of the law, however, have yet to be formally issued pending President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s selection of a Director-General for the Anti-Red Tape Authority which the EoDB law created.
In addition, Mr. Lopez noted that the business process and licensing office of the city or municipality will not require the same documents already provided by an applicant or requesting party to local government departments.
Mr. Lopez also noted that government agencies and personnel cannot sell, offer, or recommend specific brands of fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment to applicants, requesting parties, or business entities.
He said said he hopes business registrations can be performed via smartphone under a program called Doing Business Design Sprint. The pocess will require only one form for all transactions. The program started trials in 2018.
“There are a number of government initiatives we’re currently implementing. If properly executed, with your support, the whole business process — from starting your business to trading across borders — should become faster, easier, and less costly,” he added. — Janina C. Lim