Philippines

By Noel Christian O Luciano, ACCRA LawScreen Shot 2018-07-20 at 2.17.16 PM

Bureaucracy teaches us two things: to wait and to execute everything in triplicate. “Red tape” has since evolved from the practice of Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, of using red ribbon to identify important state documents. Now, it describes a system of regulations and official actions which restrict or deny access to swift and quality government services. The problem of red tape has proven to be perennial unlike the empires from which it began.

Like all modern political regimes, the Philippines is no stranger to red tape. Back in 2007, Republic Act No. 9485, or The Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA), was passed to combat red tape and promote transparency and efficiency in the delivery of government services. Fast-forward to 2018, the Philippines falters nine (9) spots down the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking and ranks 113th out of 190 countries in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

In a much needed effort to address the problem of red tape, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11032, or The Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 (RA 11032), amending the ARTA by strengthening it and giving it teeth.

With RA 11032 now in full force and effect, its more prominent features deserve to be highlighted.

The Citizen’s Charter
The public still has the benefit of relying on the Citizen’s Charter ushered in by the ARTA for the updated service standards of a government agency. RA11032 adds to the ARTA by explicitly requiring government agencies to provide a comprehensive and uniform checklist of requirements for each type of application or request. This removes the uncertainties faced by business establishments when applying for regulatory permits which are, most often than not, at the mercy of government officials who impose new or different requirements. Demands for additional requirements not specified under the Citizen’s Charter are now illegal and expose the accountable government official to administrative and criminal liability.

Shortened Lead Time for Processing of Applications
RA 11032 further limits the time for government agencies to act on an application. Simple transactions are required to be acted upon within three (3) working days and complex transactions within seven (7) working days from the date of receipt of the complete application or request. These periods may be extended only once for the same number of days. Government agencies are required to give proper notice in writing of the reason for the extension and the final date of the action on the application or request.

Automatic Approval of New Applications and Automatic Extension of Licences
RA 11032 maintains the provision of the ARTA on automatic extension of licences and permits should a government agency fail to act on an application for their renewal within the prescribed processing time. RA 11032 goes further by granting automatic approval status to original applications for the issuance of licence, clearance, permit, certification or authorisation which remain unacted upon by the government agency after the lapse of the prescribed processing time. This closes the lacuna under the ARTA on new permit applications stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

Use of Technology to Further Expedite Procedure
In keeping with the Zero-Contact Policy, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is mandated to develop a web-based software for business registration and infrastructure for interconnection between government agencies, among other technological innovations, to ensure access to fast and easy public services. The public should expect the roll-out of these technologies in the coming years.

Creation of Monitoring and Policy Bodies
Recognising the need to be abreast with the dynamic needs of the public, RA 11032 establishes key government agencies to monitor compliance with the law and review policy considerations for future implementation. These agencies are the Anti-Red Tape Unit in the Civil Service Commission, the Anti-Red Tape Authority, and the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council.

While Congress did not reinvent the wheel with RA 11032, it certainly provided much needed oil and grease to a bureaucracy laden with woes of inefficiency and frustration. Time will tell if RA 11032 lives up to its avowed policies but it is a welcome step towards achieving quality government services that the Filipinos deserve.

This article was first published in Business World, a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.

 

ACCRALAW LOGO

 

 

 

 

W: www.accralaw.com

E: noluciano@accralaw.com

T: (632) 830 8000

Related Articles by Firm
Philippines: The POGO problem – Harmonising immigration, gaming and gambling
It is highly illegal to gamble in China save for a few state-run lotteries. To avoid this prohibition, gambling companies operate offshore so that they may continue catering to Chinese nationals who play casino and e-games online ...
Developments in the Philippine Competition Commission’s enforcement activities
Early this year, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) Enforcement Office launched a leniency/whistleblower programme offering immunity from suit and reduction of fines to cartel members who will provide information that will help the PCC investigate and prosecute cartels ...
Revisiting the AMLA in light of transnational money laundering
For several decades, money laundering has extended the reach of transnational organised crime throughout various nations ...
Revisiting important concepts in arbitration
Philippine courts are keen on making arbitration and other modes of ADR the staple in settling disputes domestically.
Keeping your mobile number for a lifetime
A new law facilitates the easy movement of subscribers from one service provider to another.
The right to know: Freedom of information in the Supreme Court
Like all other rights, the “right to know” is not an absolute right.
The Philippines 11th Foreign Investment Negative List and its impact on online businesses
A more liberalised foreign participation may change the internet-based business landscape in the Philippines ...
The Philippine Competition Commission bares its teeth
For the first time since its inception in 2015, the Commission has blocked a merger after conducting its review.
A peek into the revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
On February 20, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11232, otherwise known as the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines (the New Code) ...
Philippines: Protecting indigenous knowledge systems and practices in intellectual property rights registration
Indigenous peoples (IPs) and indigenous cultural communities (ICCs), though explicitly protected under the constitution itself, sadly remain one of the most marginalised and forgotten sectors in Philippine society ...
Philippines: The right to know – Freedom of information in the Supreme Court
Freedom of Information is a right enshrined in our fundamental law ...
Investments for the environment
In a recent report released by the leading international body for assessment of climate change, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), established a target global warming limit of 1.5°C ...
The PCC’s Joint Venture Guidelines
The Philippine Competition Commission must strive to strike a balance ...
How the Mental Health Act affects employees
Mental health conditions, which include anxiety and panic disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and addictions, have become a pervasive issue which permeates our present society ...
Much EndO about nothing
President Duterte says he has put an end to the “Endo” or the practice of engaging employees on a contractual basis. But has he?
Philippines: Proposed rules and regulations on crowdfunding
Crowdfunding (CF) platforms have proven to be a popular way to solicit charitable donations and to raise funds for projects or business ventures ...
Virtual currency in the Philippines: Recognition and regulation
Bitcoin is essentially a virtual currency (VC), which is any type of digital unit that is used as a medium of exchange — a veritable currency that exists in the digital world. Since it is electronic currency, VC is easily transferable ...
Protection of women employees in the Philippines
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap (GGG) Report conducted in 2016, the Philippines is the most gender-equal country in the Asia-Pacific region, having closed nearly 79 percent of its gender gap ...
Anti-Trust & Competition: Philippines - Towards robust yet balanced competition in the Philippines
The state of Philippine competition regulation has been slowly taking shape barely over two years after the passage of the Philippine Competition Act (RA 10667) ...
PHILIPPINES: The internet and doing business in the Philippines
Earlier this year, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an opinion stating that an online gaming system with absolutely no physical presence in the Philippines shall be considered as “doing business” in the Philippines and was thus required ...
Philippines: Psychological disorders in the workplace
The problem of mental health presents a particular conundrum under labour relations and standards ...
Clarifying the role of contractors and subcontractors
Recent changes to labour laws in the Philippines attempt to clarify the status of contractors and subcontractors in certain industries ...
Fake news and its web of legal issues in the post-truth era
Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016 is “post-truth” — an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. ...
Dollar-denominated securities in relation to Corporation Code’s provisions on capital
The Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) issued rules on December 2, 2016 governing the listing, trading and settlement of US dollar-denominated securities (DDS)....
Cyber bullying in the Philippines
The pen is mightier than the sword or so the adage goes. When this was once said, it was to highlight the power of thoughts and ideas over brute force and violence as a way to effect change. Today, the ...
Uber/GrabCar drivers: Independent contractors or employees?
The buzz about the legality of Uber and GrabCar operating in the Philippines might have died down, but now there is another legal issue surrounding them: whether their drivers are employees or ...
Price fixing in the context of the Philippine Competition Act
In light of the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) in 2015, competitors, manufacturers, retailers and sellers or suppliers, in general, should be ...
Implementation of the data privacy act in Philippines now in full swing
Since 2012, the Philippines has had a comprehensive law governing personal data privacy. However, full implementation ...
Taxability of service fees received by non-resident foreign companies from online advertising in the Philippines
The use of the internet for the promotion of goods and services, particularly social media (Facebook, Twitter and ...
Levelling the playing field in the Philippines
Before the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act in 2015, the Philippines was the only founding member of Asean that did not have a comprehensive competition law in place. Francisco Ed Lim, Patricia-Ann T Prodigalidad, Eric R Recalde of <...
Age discrimination in the workplace
Republic Act No. 10911 (also known as the ‘Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act’) lapsed into law on 21 July ...
Green jobs: greening the Philippine labour sector
With the threat of climate change, the international community created the Paris Agreement which aims to stop global warming and preserve ...
Interplay of domestic law on compulsory licensing and international agreements on medicine prices
The price of pharmaceutical products in the Philippines appears to be on the high side compared to that in other Asian ...
Restrictive covenants in employment contracts
One of the means of keeping afloat in today’s competitive market is to hire employees who are ‘fit’ for a particular job. However, before employers ...
Make our system work: litigation practice expedited
The perception that litigation is a slow and arduous process has drawn many of us closer to the idea of alternative modes of dispute resolution. ...
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 18-A: The Rules and Regulations on Contracting
On December 4, 2011, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 18-A (D.O. 18-A), the new Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 ...
An overview of Philippine Data Privacy Law
Republic Act No. 10173, or the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA10173), was signed into law on August 15, 2012. This is the ...
New competition law for the Philippines
The Philippine Competition Act (PCA) went into effect on August 5, 2015. The law applies not only to acts committed in the Philippines but ...
Related Articles
Joko Widodo re-elected: How will it affect doing business in Indonesia?
In his election campaign, Jokowi declared nine missions ...
Africa: Guinea emerging from the shadows
Recent reports from three respected international organisations sketch a relatively upbeat picture of economic prospects in the west African state of Guinea ...
Philippines: The POGO problem – Harmonising immigration, gaming and gambling
It is highly illegal to gamble in China save for a few state-run lotteries. To avoid this prohibition, gambling companies operate offshore so that they may continue catering to Chinese nationals who play casino and e-games online ...
Related Articles by Jurisdiction
Taxability of service fees received by non-resident foreign companies from online advertising in the Philippines
The use of the internet for the promotion of goods and services, particularly social media (Facebook, Twitter and ...
Levelling the playing field in the Philippines
Before the enactment of the Philippine Competition Act in 2015, the Philippines was the only founding member of Asean that did not have a comprehensive competition law in place. Francisco Ed Lim, Patricia-Ann T Prodigalidad, Eric R Recalde of <...
A peek into the revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
On February 20, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11232, otherwise known as the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines (the New Code) ...
Latest Articles
Joko Widodo re-elected: How will it affect doing business in Indonesia?
In his election campaign, Jokowi declared nine missions ...
Africa: Guinea emerging from the shadows
Recent reports from three respected international organisations sketch a relatively upbeat picture of economic prospects in the west African state of Guinea ...
Keeping track of sanctions
Governments around the world are increasingly using economic sanctions and embargoes as a foreign policy tool ...