Palace orders agencies to eliminate ‘burdensome’ transaction processes

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered government agencies to eliminate all processes that are “burdensome to the public,” retaining only those steps that are “necessary to fulfill their legal mandates and policy objectives.”

In Administrative Order (AO) No. 23 dated Feb. 21 but released Thursday, the President said that “excessive regulations at all levels of government, which are more than necessary to implement their respective mandates, create high costs on businesses, inhibit job creation and discourage private sector investment.”

AO 23 claims authority in part from the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, which governs “all government offices and agencies including local government units and government-owned or controlled corporations that provide frontline services.”

The AO called all processes that are superfluous to the bare minimum to meet legal mandates “manifestations of overregulation” which must be removed.

The AO stipulates that approval processes for energy projects continue to be governed by timelines set by Republic Act 11234, or the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act.

Mr. Duterte also ordered the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to monitor the compliance of government agencies with order, in coordination with each government office’s Anti-Red Tape Unit.

All covered agencies are required to submit compliance reports within 60 working days, outlining the regulations governing their frontline services, transaction steps and processing times, and the legal basis for such regulations.

Non-compliant agencies will be referred to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for administrative action.

In 2018, Mr. Duterte also signed into law Republic Act 9485 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which simplifies government transactions and sets application approval deadlines.

The Philippines placed 95th in the World Bank 2020 Ease of Doing Business report released in 2019, rising from 124th place the year prior. — Gillian M. Cortez