Business sector hails President Duterte’s first directive

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the 16th President of the Philippines, is known for his strong words against illegal drugs and criminality, but his first order as the country’s new executive to ease the process of government transactions, is now making the business community rejoice.

In his inaugural speech Thursday, President Duterte directed all Cabinet secretaries and agency heads to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications from the time of submission to release.

He also ordered to remove redundant requirements and “compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all”.

The Chief Executive likewise instructed all government offices to refrain from changing and bending the rules of government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation.

“We laud President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first order to all cabinet secretaries to reduce requirements and processing time of all applications across agencies and remove redundancies in these requirements and to respect the sanctity of contracts,” MBC Executive Director Peter Angelo Perfecto said.

“The President’s position of reducing red tape and streamlining of permits and requirements together with observing the sanctity of contracts give the much needed credibility to the government. This will surely attract local and foreign direct investments,” said Francis Chua, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Chairman Emeritus and founder of the International Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP), in a text message to the Philippines News Agency.

In another text message, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. added that President Duterte’s speech touching on easing transaction with the government is “very reassuring and will put to rest whatever doubts they (the business community) have”.

“This shows his pronouncements during the campaign and during the Business Forum were no idle words but will be the foundation of a stable relationship with business and foreign investors,” he said.

For his part, PCCI President George Barcelon, in a phone interview, said President Duterte’s message boils down to improving the lives of Filipinos, hoping it would soon result to creating more jobs and inclusive growth.

“He is telling all sectors of society for change. Everybody has to come on board,” said Barcelon.

Barcelon said that not changing existing rules on government contracts, transactions and projects would encourage businesses to further partner with the public sector.

“These words bring back businesses’ faith to the government,” Barcelon said.

President Duterte said that easing doing business with the government is something “that cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced”.

In his inaugural speech, the Chief Executive cited lines from the late President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president, noting that this will serve as among the foundation of his economic and financial policies.

“And from Lincoln I draw this expression: You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men,” President Duterte said. Kris Crismundo/ PNA/