In light of the comprehensive legislations and policies being implemented by the government to streamline business processing in the country, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go told telecommunications companies that they have no excuses anymore not to improve their services.

“Meron na pong report na talagang ginagawa na po ng paraan ng ating gobyerno na mapabilis ang serbisyo ng telco, kasi ang dahilan ng telco noon matagal ang processing ng permits. So, nagbigay na ng instruction ang Pangulo na bilisan. In two to three weeks po, dapat tapos na ang permit,” Go explained during an interview right after he personally assisted typhoon victims in Legazpi City, Albay on Friday, February 5.

“So, ngayon wala nang dahilan dahil may batas na po ngayon na kapag tumagal ang pagproseso ng permit, pwedeng tanggalin ‘yung mismong nagpapabagal. Pwedeng kasuhan at tanggalin sa trabaho,” he added.

Go is referring to a set of laws and policies implemented by the government to improve ease of doing business in the country by cutting bureaucratic red tape.

The most recent is Republic Act No. 11517 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December of last year. It authorizes the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications in times of national emergency.

The law intends to make life easier for business owners and ordinary citizens alike when applying for government documents, such as licenses, permits and certifications during national emergencies, such as the pandemic.

Duterte also warned in August local government units to act on permit applications of telecommunications companies within three days or they will be charged with corruption or face possible suspension.

In May 2018, Duterte signed into law RA No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act. The law, which amends the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, seeks to streamline the process of starting and running a business in the country.

The law provides for the standardized deadline for government transactions, a single unified business application form, establishment of business one-stop shops, and a zero-contact policy to eliminate corruption.

The law also requires the Department of Information and Communications Technology to establish a central business portal which will receive all business applications, and the Philippine Business Databank which will stand as a repository of information on all businesses registered in the Philippines.

With the President’s approval of Republic Act No. 11032, the DICT, headed by Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II, established the Central Business Portal which aims to be the single online portal for all business-related transactions with the government, including applications for business permits, clearances, and licenses. The DICT recently launched the CBP Phase 1 last January 28, 2021 and features a unified application form and user dashboard which enables businesses to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue online as well as the BIR ePayment system for registration fees and the registration of employer numbers for the social security agencies: Social Security System, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG.

In relation to Republic Act No. 11032, the DICT also spearheaded the issuance of a Joint Memorandum Circular last July 2020 to streamline requirements and reduce procedural delays in securing necessary permits, licenses, clearances, certificates, and other requirements in constructing common towers—reducing processing time from 241 days to sixteen days; permits from thirteen to eight; and documentary requirements from 86 to 35.

With the entry of a third telco player, Dito Telecommunity, Go said that business competition will further foster improvement of internet services for consumers.

“Ngayon, meron pa tayong pangatlong telco player. So, dapat po, mas meron nang competition, mas pag-igihan pa nila ang serbisyo,” he said.

Go also filed in July of last year a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to e-governance in the digital age amid the current challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill No. 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.

Go reiterated the benefits of prioritizing the transition to e-governance platforms, saying that they will reduce red tape and corruption, and improve efficiency and productivity of government processes.

“Having a transparent, efficient and responsive delivery of government services is key to reducing corruption and empowering the people to exact accountability from public servants,” he emphasized. “

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