(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will sign an executive order (EO) to promote ease of doing business in the country as his administration targets to make the Philippines a “top investment destination.”
This, after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Tuesday presented to Marcos the proposed EO on the Creation of Green Lane for Strategic Investments after identifying the barrier across multiple regulatory agencies that hamper the smooth entry of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country.
“Malaking bagay ‘yun. That will address immediately ‘yung tinatawag na ease of doing business na laging nirereklamo sa atin (That’s a huge thing. That will immediately address the complaints we receive regarding ease of doing business),” Marcos told DTI officials during their meeting in Malacañang.
“Until we get to change the procedures… and to say that… baka ito hindi na kailangan, baka ito extraneous na ito, ito obsolete na ito, ganyan (maybe, it’s no longer needed, maybe it’s extraneous, it’s obsolete, like that). You cut it down as much as we can,” he added.
Cheloy Garafil, officer in charge, Office of the Press Secretary, said the EO will mandate concerned offices to establish a Green Lane to expedite and streamline the process and requirements for the issuance of permits and licenses, including resolutions of issues concerning strategic investments.
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The proposed EO, she said, will cover all national government agencies (NGAs) and their regional and provincial offices, local government units (LGUs) and quasi-judicial bodies involved in issuing permits and licenses necessary for establishing strategic investments in the country.
“The EO mandates NGAs and LGUs to act on a permit or license application not longer than three working days in the case of a simple transaction, seven working days in the case of complex transactions, and 20 working days for highly technical transactions from the date of receipt,” she added.
Garafil said among the strategic investments identified by the DTI were “projects of national significance, highly desirable projects endorsed by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) and FDIs endorsed by the Inter-Agency Investments Promotion Coordination Committee (IAIPCC) or priority projects or activities under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), which are considered as projects of national significance or highly desirable that may be endorsed by the Board of Investments (BoI) of the concerned Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).”
She said a technical working group headed by the DTI’s BoI will implement the EO and a BoI-Investment Assistance Service (BoI-IAS) will become the single point of entry of investment availing of the Green Lane services endorsed as nationally significant or highly desirable projects.
“Non-compliance with the EO’s provisions will be a ground for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring public officer or employee, as provided under existing laws and regulations,” Garafil added.
Marcos has repeatedly promised that his administration will work to improve the ease of doing business in the country to help attract more investors.
Speaking before the business community in October, the President said his administration targets to make the Philippines a “top investment destination.”
“We continue to harmonize efforts of all investment promotion agencies, government agencies and local government units to effect greater synergies. We also continue to help in the ease of doing business in the country,” Marcos said in his speech at the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Manila.
“We are doing this by enhancing our digital infrastructure in order to streamline application processes, business permits, licenses and other documentary requirements,” he added.
The President has also reiterated his government’s commitment “to make the Philippines a viable option for businesses, both for local and foreign investors.”
“That is why we feel that not only do we encourage foreign direct investment, not only do we encourage capital-intensive investments in our country, but we also very much must understand that the key, the driving force to begin all of this will be the local investors, the local businesses, and the local private sector companies that come into partnership with government to find the synergy that we all need for this new economy that we are facing,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President discussed with officials of the Department of Defense (DND) the 10-point defense agenda and the continued modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the meeting.
“The DND, on the other hand, discussed with the Commander in Chief the 10-point defense agenda aimed at improving the agency’s capability to respond to various aspects of national security,” the Palace said.
Marcos had promised his continued support for the military’s modernization amid geopolitical tensions and challenges posed by terrorism and natural disasters.
“While we strive to live in peace with others, it is still crucial that our Armed Forces be modernized so that it is ready for all eventualities,” the President said during the turnover of a new aircraft and ground-based air defense system to the Philippine Air Force last month.
“It is for this reason that we strengthen our country’s capabilities in territorial defense, counterterrorism and internal security,” he added.
Marcos said a modernized military would help ensure peace in the country, citing that when a nation enjoys peace, there is stability and progress.
He said that peace could only be achieved “when there is security” and “when you know that you can protect yourself, your possessions and those you hold dear.”
Marcos has been promising to give troops newer equipment whenever he is invited to grace their anniversary celebrations.
In October, the President assured the Philippine Coast Guard that his administration would back “efforts and initiatives to modernize” the maritime agency to ensure the “better delivery of service to the nation.”
Marcos also told the Philippine Air Force last July that the government would provide them with “more state-of-the-art fighter planes and armed with more firepower.”