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Romualdez lauds Velasco, House

Closed fist
2021 BUDGET APPROVED — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez flash President Rodrigo Duterte's trademark closed fist gesture together with deputy speakers, deputy majority leaders and minority leaders while holding a copy of the P4.506 trillion 2021 national budget which they approved on third reading Friday night at the plenary of the House of Representatives. Photos by VER NOVENO
Lord Allan Velasco and Martin Romualdez
Lord Allan Velasco and Martin Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Saturday lauded his colleagues led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco for working very hard in ensuring the swift approval on third and final reading of a bill granting anti-red tape powers to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte during national emergencies.

“We acted with dispatch according to the desire of the President to streamline the issuance of licenses and permits during national emergencies. I thank Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and my colleagues for performing under pressure just to ensure its approval,” said Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules, whose motion Friday night suspending the plenary session until 3 p.m. in the afternoon of November 16 was accepted by Velasco after passing the P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 and the anti-red tape measure during the four-day special session.

Romualdez said the anti-red tape measure, voted affirmatively by 267 lawmakers and opposed by six House members, is in support of Duterte’s directives for efficient coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) response.

On Wednesday evening, Velasco and Romualdez led the filing of House Bill (HB) 7884 or An Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses, and Certifications to accelerate the country’s socioeconomic recovery and ensure an effective government response to the present health crisis.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Velasco, we are in full support of the marching orders from President Duterte for Congress to go all out in helping curb red tape and corruption in all levels of governance,” Romualdez said.

“We have to help the President in his campaign to put a stop to deep-rooted, systemic and systematic corruption in government,” Romualdez said. “Tama ang ating Presidente na hindi dapat nahihirapan ang mga tao sa kanilang transaksiyon sa pamahalaan.”

Section 2 of the measure gives Duterte the authority to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the process of issuance.

The bill covers all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils; government instrumentalities, government owned and controlled corporations.

“One of the strategic measures is to reduce transaction costs in all government agencies and provide an efficient delivery of its services while maintaining integrity and accountability in government service and the promotion of transparency in the transactions of the government with the public, encompassing a program for the adoption of simplified requirements and procedures,” said the authors led by Velasco and Romualdez.

The bill seeks to authorize the President of the Philippines to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications in times of national emergency.

The President, under the measure, shall have the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations.

The proposed law also empowers the President to fix or shorten the periods for the processing and release of these documents.

The bill also grants the President the power to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations.

In consultation with or upon the recommendation of the affected government agencies, HB 7884 may prescribe the permanent streamlining of regulatory processes and procedures, and the suspension or waiver of the requirements in securing the documents.

But Section 2 of the proposed legislation shall not be used to “undermine the existing procedures and processes, under applicable laws, rules and regulations, meant to protect the environment, especially those that aim to safeguard protected areas and its buffer zones, and environmentally critical areas.”

Under Section 3 of the measure, the President has the power to suspend or remove, any government official or employee performing acts contrary to the measure consistent with Article VII Sections 1 and 17 of the Constitution, the Revised Administrative Code, other existing laws, and jurisprudence.

Some of the principal authors of the bill are Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez (Tingog party-list), Weslie Gatchalian (Valenzuela City), Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II (Zamboanga Sibugay), Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. (Ako Bicol party-list), Juan Miguel “Mikey” Macapagal Arroyo (Pampanga), Michael John R. Duavit (Rizal), Jesus Crispin C. Remulla (Cavite), Wilfrido Mark M. Enverga (Quezon), Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo (Camiguin), Sharon S. Garin (AAMBIS-OWA party-list), Julienne “Jam” L. Baronda (Iloilo City), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur), Bernadette “BH” Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon party-list), Jose “Bonito” C. Singson Jr. (Probinsyano Ako party-list), Doy C. Leachon (Oriental Mindoro), Michael “Mikee” L. Romero, Eric M. Martinez (Valenzuela City), Arnolfo “Arnie” A. Teves Jr. (Negros Oriental), Francisco “Kiko” B. Benitez (Negros Occidental), Munir M. Arbison (Sulu), Michael Edgar Y. Aglipay (DIWA party-list), Joseph Stephen “Caraps” S. Paduano (Abang Lingkod), and John Reynald M. Tiangco (Navotas).