The leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday rallied behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching order to Congress to go all-out in the fight against red tape and corruption in all levels of governance.
“The leaders of the House of Representatives are in full agreement with President Duterte. We are ready to comply to with his orders to prioritize the passage of legislative measures that would cut red tape and corruption,” said Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
“The President stressed that any delay in the release of business permits is tantamount to corruption, he added.
Romualdez joined Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Christopher Go in a meeting with President Duterte last Wednesday night to discuss the Chief Executives’ priority measures.
Cayetano, for his part, said he could “feel the weight of burden on President Duterte’s shoulders” as they talked about the problem of red tape and how it is “choking the life our of our economy and people.”
“He desperately want(s) to make life even just a little bit easier for all Filipinos,” he said.
Cayetano said Duterte had a “clear and unwavering message” to the nation’s leaders during the meeting: “Lets fix this now!”
“The President’s anger was palpable against those who make life harder for our kababayans through red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies, or worse, those who take advantage and corrupt the system for their benefit,” he said.
Cayetano also said the President was “very clear” that the enemy in this time of pandemic is not just the novel coronavirus but also “the heartless bureaucracy that has made life unbearable for many of our kababayans.”
“Decades of mismanagement has bred inefficiency, corruption, and graft in a system that is meant to serve the public. The people are already suffering from COVID; they shouldn’t be made to suffer more by coming back again and again for the signature of government officials,” Cayetano said.
“People need assistance and solutions — not more more excuses, more hoops to jump through, and more problems,” he added.
Meanwhile, Romualdez said the Wednesday’s meeting between the President and Congress leaders was “cordial”
“We all had a meeting of the mind, for everybody to help the President in his campaign to put a stop to deep-rooted, systemic and systematic corruption in government,” Romualdez said.
“President was also emphatic when he reiterated his desire to cut red tape in government. The people should not have a hard time doingtransactions with the government,” added Romualdez.
In response to the President’s directive, Romualdez said he and Cayetano have decided to call a meeting of top House leaders to discuss ways on how to fast track all pending measures related to the anti-red tape and anti-corruption campaign.
“We will also discuss what are the other pressing complaints from the public that the House may need to address through the exercise of our legislative function. Definitely, the investigations being conducted by the House committees on good government and public accounts will continue,” Romualdez said.
Cayetano called on everyone in government to come together to craft “creative solutions” the problem, adding there is no reason red tape cannot be ended before the end of Duterte’s term in 2022 since the House of Representatives, the Senate, and Malacañang have a good relationship.
“This is not the time to stand by the wayside. Time to pitch in. Every bit of help counts. Let’s fix government from inside and out,” he said.