The Senate has passed a bill authorizing President Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications in times of national emergency.

Crafted in response to Duterte’s frustrations over the persistence of bureaucratic red tape, Senate Bill No. 1844 will grant the president anti-red tape powers during national emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

With strong bipartisan support, the bill notably went through the period of interpellation and amendment with absolutely no opposition, making it, in Zubiri’s words, “the quickest bill I’ve ever passed.”

The bill is principally authored by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Along with the principal authors, other senators who backed the bill by manifesting co-authorship are Senators Bong Revilla, Bong Go, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Lito Lapid, Bato dela Rosa, Richard Gordon, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, and Grace Poe.

“This is a good accompanying measure to the Ease of Doing Business. I think a lot of goodwill comes from this. 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,” said Zubiri.

“Hopefully, we can get a certification from Malacañang. Para maipasa natin on third reading bago tayo mag-suspend this week,” he added.

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