Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri took to the floor on Monday to push Senate Bill 1844, a measure that would authorize the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications in times of national emergency, to be approved on second reading.
The bill was crafted in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s frustrations over the persistence of bureaucratic red tape. It would give the President anti-red tape powers during national emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
With strong bipartisan support, the bill notably went through 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 good will 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. Hopefully we can get a certification from Malacañang.”
The bill was 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 other senators backed the bill by manifesting co-authorship: Senators Ramon Revilla, Bong Go, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Lito Lapid, Bato Dela Rosa, Richard Gordon, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe.