Press Release
February 22, 2018

Recto: Price freeze in fees, recyclable permits, exempt one-man firms from fire fees

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto today hailed the passage by both houses of Congress of a "reinforced" anti-red tape bill designed to spare businesses from spending billions of pesos and millions of man-hours yearly to comply with government licensing procedures.

Although one of the lead authors of the measure, Recto proposed three more initiatives - a freeze on fees, an anti-epal provision, and exempting one-person proprietorships from paying fire inspection fees - which can be ordered by either the law's implementing rules or arm.

In his written vote speech on the conference committee report on the proposed "Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act" which the Senate ratified Feb. 21, Recto said "a price-freeze" must be implemented on fees and permits issued on a shortened process

"If red tape will be cut, there will be less paper work and fewer signatories, then the cost should remain as it is, if not go down," Recto said. "Ease of doing business should lead to easy-on-the-pocket expenses."

Recto said "it will be the height of absurdity if efficiency will be penalized with a higher price, considering the fact that in computing the cost of licenses issued by the government, the guiding principle is the mere recovery of the cost of preparation and not to profit."

"It can even be argued that if we cut the process, then we should also cut the price, or at the very least keep the status quo," he added.

Recto's second proposal is for the proposed Anti-Red Tape Authority to order that the design of permits be "institutional in nature and not personalistic."

"One ludicrous imposition in many areas today is for business owners, be they grocery owners or ukay-ukay sellers, to buy every year as a business permit a thin metal or hard plastic plate featuring the name and the likeness of the issuing authority," he said.

"Sa bayang ito, walang plaka ang mga sasakyan, pero ang mga sari-sari store mayroon. Hindi lang iyon-- taun-taon pa itong pinapalitan. Hindi naman nabubulok ang plaka. Hindi naman naagnas ang bakal, bakit kada taon ay kailangan bumili ng bago ang business permit holder?" he lamented.

Recto said local governments should just "adopt the same practice in registering cars and just plaster a sticker on the plate or permit as proof that it has been registered for the year."

"Or better still, honor the receipt as the permit itself and do away with burloloys," he stressed in batting for permits that have long expiration and will last for years.

"In this age when recycling is encouraged, why should we adopt a throw-away mentality on a document that does not need to be discarded annually?" he said.

Recto's third proposal is to exempt "single proprietors, such as knowledge-based workers, creative people, artists, non-PRC registered professionals in one-man firms, and one-person e-commerce owners who work on their own" from securing fire safety clearances.

"These are the guys whose portable office is their laptop, and who hold office in WiFi hotspots with hot cups of coffee, but are required to get a business permit for BIR purposes. And you can't get one without a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate," he noted.

He said this requirement is not needed for a one-man firm which does not have a physical office. "Kung writer ka at bedspacer ka lang, kailangan bang dumaan sa inspection ang kamang inuupahan mo?"

He said the Senate's bipartisan move to pass the measure is in recognition of the urgent need to cure a disease which has metastasized all over the bureaucracy.

He said the 2017 ranking by World Bank placed the Philippines 171st in starting a business, 85th in dealing with construction permits, 112th in registering a property.

"In many of these metrics, failed states, like Afghanistan, are ranked higher than us. The ugliness of our system is captured by this set of vital statistics: 34-35-36. 34 days to start a business, 35 days to register a property, 36 days spent in a year to pay taxes," he said.

News Latest News Feed