House Majority Leader Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez thanked colleagues Saturday for immediately passing on third and final reading a measure seeking to authorize the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certificates during times of national emergencies.

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Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He said the House, under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, immediately gave in to President Duterte’s call on Congress to immediately enact such proposed legislation that would facilitate economic activity, accelerate the socioeconomic recovery of the country, and ensure the prompt delivery of public services in times of national emergency such as the present COVID-19 pandemic.

“We acted with dispatch according to the desire of the President to streamline the issuance of licenses and permits during national emergencies,” said Romualdez, who, along with Velasco, led the filing of the measure Wednesday.

“I thank Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and my colleagues for performing under pressure just to ensure its approval,” he added.

Around 267 House members voted in favor of House Bill (HB) No. 7884 while six lawmakers cast negative votes.

Romualdez cited that the approval of HB 7884 is their expression of support for Duterte’s directives for efficient COVID-19 response.

HB 7884 authorizes 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.”

“Under the leadership of Speaker Velasco, we are 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 said.

“We have to help the President in his campaign to put a stop to deep-rooted, systemic, and systematic corruption in government.”

HB No. 7884 grants President Duterte the authority to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses, and certifications, and streamline and expedite the processing for the issuance of the same in times of national emergency.

Covered by the measure are all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, and councils; government instrumentalities, and government-owned and -controlled corporations.

HB 7884 grants the President the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations. It also empowers the President to fix or shorten the periods for the processing and release of these documents.

The measure also authorizes the President to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations.

Under the bill, the permanent streamlining of regulatory processes and procedures, and the suspension or waiver of the requirements in securing the documents, may be prescribed in consultation with or upon the recommendation of the affected government agencies.

HB 7884 also authorizes the President 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.

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