THE Senate finance committee has asked government agencies to report on their efforts to reduce red tape during budget deliberations for 2020, its chair Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara said.

“Anti-red tape performance will now be part of the budget review. These will also be part of the key performance indicators that an agency promises to meet in exchange for the appropriations it will get,” Mr. Angara said in a statement late Monday.

Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, was designed to cut processing time for business permits and other official documents.

The EoDB Act puts in place the “3-7-20” rule, which requires government offices to complete simple transactions within three days, complex transactions within seven, and highly technical ones within 20.

“When you reduce the number of documents, the speed by which an application moves increases. Hindi lang bawas oras, bawas gastos na rin (it doesn’t just save time, it also reduces cost)” Mr. Angara said.

Mr. Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, asked government agencies once more, including local government units, to simplify their permit processing.

The proposed P4.1 trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2020 was approved by the President and his Cabinet members on Monday evening.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, vice chair of the House appropriations committee, said Tuesday the House of Representatives targets third reading passage of the General Appropriations Bill for 2020 by Oct. 5.

“As 2nd Vice Chair of the Committee on Appropriations, I am confident that under the leadership of Speaker (Alan Peter S.) Cayetano, Majority Leader (Ferdinand Martin G.) Romualdez and Chairman (Isidro T.) Ungab, we can have the President’s budget approved on 2nd reading by Oct. 5 or before the recess even if we are received 24 days late, together with the Duterte Supermajority,” Mr. Salceda said in a statement Wednesday.

The 2019 was delayed by four months, with the President signing it in April, delaying funding for many infrastructure projects and weighing on growth.

Mr. Duterte’s budget signing on April 15 came with a veto of some P95.3-billion worth of appropriations, reducing the GAB to a total of P3.662 trillion. — Charmaine A. Tadalan