MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri took to the floor on Monday to ferry Senate Bill No. 1844, an Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses, and Certifications in Times of National Emergency, through its second reading approval.
Principally authored alongside Zubiri by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, the bill, which was crafted in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s frustrations over the persistence of bureaucratic red tape, will grant the President anti-red tape powers during national emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Along with the principal authors, other senators backed the bill by manifesting co-authorship –Senators Ramon Bong Revilla, Bong Go, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Lito Lapid, Bato dela Rosa, Richard Gordon, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, and Grace Poe.
With strong bipartisan support, the bill notably went through the period of interpellation and amendment with absolutely no opposition, making it, in Zubiri’s words, “the quickest bill I’ve ever passed.”
“This is a good accompanying measure to the Ease of Doing Business, I think a lot of goodwill come from this,” he said.
Zubiri was the principal sponsor and author of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
“With this, I hope the President will feel emboldened to put an end to our culture of red tape, by recognizing his power to act on the ineptitude and incompetence of some of our officials and employees by removing them from government service,” Zubiri said.
“Hopefully we can get a certification from Malacañang,” he said. “Para maipasa natin on third reading bago tayo mag-suspend this week (So we can pass it on third reading before we suspend this week).” (PR)