The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has succeeded in streamlining some of the permitting processes to ensure ease of doing business in the Philippines, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. told US businesses, assuring them that his administration is working hard to address red tape and to digitalize bureaucratic processes.
“They have done a very good job. They have reduced some of the permitting procedures from — for different industries from several months to just a few days,” President Marcos said in a fireside chat with American businesses at the Blair House in Washington.
“I really am confident that the authority, if it’s continued — if it can continue its work and if it is — it is well supported by legislation, by the bureaucratic procedures, we can cut down many of those unnecessary regulatory documentary requirements.”
US investors expressed excitement about a lot of the elements that were put into the Anti-Red Tape Law and wonder how that will really help accelerate foreign direct investment (FDI) and bring businesses into the Philippines.
The challenge, the President said, is how to compete with other countries and how to shorten the business permitting process, which sometimes takes months to secure in the Philippines.
In other countries, documents are ready for signature after 24 hours, the chief executive said.
Another area that the administration is working on is digitalizing government processes and transactions, according to President Marcos.
“We always — that’s why digitalization has become such an important part of our effort because with digitalization, you remove as much of the discretion that we will have — that people have in actually processing these applications or these documents and hopefully the end result is that — we will be doing most of our business in government purely online, without speaking to a human being,” the President noted.
Based on a study they conducted, the President said 95 percent of today’s work is done online, noting that although digitalizing the bureaucracy may be an intimidating task, the government must carry it out.
Simple things like applying for a driver’s license and getting a copy of birth certificate could be done online, President Marcos said.
Catherine R. Cueto