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Romualdez vows swift ok of bills vs corruption

Martin Romualdez
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Wednesday vowed to speed up the passage of all anti-corruption measures in the House of Representatives to boost President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s campaign against corruption.

“In an effort to further the President’s advocacy against corruption, the House of Representatives would work harder to fast-track the approval of all pending measures related to anti-red tape and anti-corruption campaign of the Duterte administration,” assured Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules.

“President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s call for the Department of Justice (DoJ) to conduct a government-wide corruption probe deserves our support,” Romualdez said.

“The Chief Executive was right in his relentless war against all forms of corruption in the entire government,” said Romualdez who was joined by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in strongly supporting the directive of President Duterte to intensify its investigation against corrupt people in the government.

Romualdez, a lawyer and both President of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said the “House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is in full agreement with the President to put an end to the deep-rooted, systemic and systematic corruption in the government.”

“We are always 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 stressed.

On October 16, Romualdez recalled that the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the bill granting anti-red tape powers to the Chief Executive during national emergencies.

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

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.

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.

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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,” the authors led by Speaker Velasco and Romualdez said.

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 renewal 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 th 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.