President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media after his first Cabinet meeting in Malacañan Palace, July 5, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is expected to sign an executive order (EO) that will fast-track applications for investments deemed strategic to the economy, the Palace said on Tuesday.

The order will establish a green lane in government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to streamline the issuance of permits and licenses, Acting Press Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said in a statement.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had proposed the EO to ensure the smooth entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve the Philippines’ regional competitiveness.

“That will address immediately what we call the ease of doing business, which is always complained about,” Mr. Marcos was quoted as telling DTI officials at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He urged agencies to “cut down” on delays as much as possible.

The EO formally tasks government agencies and LGUs to act on applications within three business days for simple transactions, and seven business days for complex transactions.

The EO timetable is in line with the provisions of the Ease of Doing Business Act (Republic Act 11032). RA 11032 also allows 20 days for highly technical transactions.

All applications where approval is not given within the specified time are deemed approved, according to the law.

A technical working group led by the DTI’s Board of Investments will oversee the rollout of green lane services.

Ms. Garafil noted that public officers or employees that do not comply with the order’s provisions will face administrative and disciplinary sanction.

In 2020, The Philippines ranked 95th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report.

FDI net inflows fell by 12% in the first seven months of 2022, the central bank data said.

Foreign investment pledges declined 22.4% in the third quarter due to rising inflation and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Approved foreign investment pledges during the first nine months of 2022 rose 15.6% to P68.28 billion. — John Victor D. Ordoñez