By: Karla Rose E. Gutierrez
In the Philippines, investors need to hurdle bureaucratic red tape when dealing with public services. Inefficient government bureaucracy is ranked as the most problematic factor for doing business in the country. Further, research shows that government processes involving in licenses and permits are more likely to cause a slowdown in processes than other services .
On December 23, 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11517 (R.A. No. 11517) or also known as An Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses, and Certifications in times of National Emergency. This law grants the President several authorities in relation to the requirements of permits, licenses and certifications. This is seen as a welcome development in improving efficiency, curbing corruption, and streamlining processes in government services.
Authorities granted to the President under R.A. 11517
First, the President, will have the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications for permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations, including fixing or shortening the periods provided for under existing laws, regulations, issuances, and ordinances
Second, the President may also suspend or waive requirements in securing permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations; and
Third, the President may prescribe that the new streamlined regulatory processes and the suspension or waiver of requirements as permanent after a consultation with or upon the recommendation of a government agency.
Note however that these authorities shall not be used to undermine existing procedures and processes under applicable laws, rules and regulations that are meant to protect the environment, especially those that aim to safeguard critical areas in the environment.
Application and Coverage
The authorities given to the President may only be exercised during a national emergency. The law shall cover all the agencies of the Executive branch of the government including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils, government instrumentalities, government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units.
Efforts to combat red tape began in 2007 when Republic Act No. 9485, or The Anti-Red Tape Act, was passed. Now, the passage of RA No. 11517 is another good legislation to promote transparency and efficiency in the delivery of government services, especially during national emergencies like the current pandemic.
 Gain Integrity, Risk and Compliance Portal, The Philippine Corruption Report available at https://www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/the-philippines/ (last accessed on January 21, 2021)
 An Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses, and Certifications in times of National Emergency or Republic Act No. 11517, Section 2(a), (2021)