Gov’t issues EO 59 rules cutting red tape on flagship projects

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Gov’t issues EO 59 rules cutting red tape on flagship projects
  • The government launched implementing guidelines for Executive Order No. 59
  • EO 59 ordered the streamlining of the permitting process for infrastructure flagship projects
  • Various government agencies led by the National Economic and Development Authority and Anti-Red Tape Authority signed the implementing rules of EO 59 on June 18
  • The guidelines will enable the use of electronic or digital signatures and limit the number of required signatories on documents to a maximum of three
  • It also mandates automatic approval or renewal of documents if the relevant licensing agencies fail to act within the prescribed timeframe

The government has launched implementing guidelines for Executive Order (EO) No. 59, which cut red tape for infrastructure flagship projects (IFP).

Various government agencies led by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) signed the implementing rules of EO 59 on June 18.

NEDA and ARTA, through the NEDA Board Committee on Infrastructure, said the EO is designed to streamline the processing of permits for the government’s Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs).

Signed on April 30, EO 59 noted the need to further streamline the process for issuance of “required licenses, clearances, permits, certifications or authorizations to expedite the implementation of IFPs.” There are currently 185 IFPs with a total value of P9.14 trillion.

READ: Marcos orders streamlining of permits for 185 infra flagship projects

The EO is consistent with Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 and covers projects approved by the NEDA Board.

The EO 59 and its implementing guidelines aim to eliminate unnecessary delays in the issuance of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, or authorizations, ensuring the timely completion of IFPs. The guidelines apply to national government agencies, government-owned and/or -controlled corporations, other government instrumentalities, and local government units involved in the issuance of such documents.

The implementing guidelines will enable the use of electronic or digital signatures; limit the number of required signatories on documents to a maximum of three that will represent officers who are directly supervising the office/s responsible; allow for the simultaneous processing of applications through the submission of an Affidavit of Undertaking; and mandate the automatic approval or renewal of documents if the relevant licensing agencies fail to act within the prescribed timeframe.

Other salient features include establishment of one-stop shops for IFPs, facilitation of digital payment of fees, and automation and digitalization of databases.

According to ARTA director general Ernesto Perez, prior to the issuance of EO 59, the permitting process for IFPs is complex and involves around 30 different issuing/licensing agencies. With EO 59, this has been reduced to 12 to a maximum of 18 licensing agencies.

NEDA secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the streamlined processes under EO 59 represent a significant stride toward enhancing the country’s investment climate, improving the ease of doing business, and strengthening the country’s economic foundation.

“Fast-tracking our major capital projects is crucial because we seek to catch up with our dynamic neighbors in the region and realize the numerous economic opportunities such projects will bring,” Balisacan said in a statement delivered by NEDA undersecretary Joseph Capuno.

“We hope to create the enabling conditions for high-quality job creation for thousands of Filipinos; we wish to enhance regional connectivity and link leading and lagging regions; and we aim to raise the competitiveness of our local industries and foster rapid, sustained, and inclusive growth,” he added.

Balisacan further underscored that EO 59 aligns with the goals outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which identifies the expansion and upgrade of the country’s infrastructure as a key component of the government’s social and economic transformation efforts.

For his part, Perez said: “Infrastructure projects are not merely about physical structures. When we invest in building robust infrastructure, we are laying the foundation for economic growth, social progress, and enhanced quality of life for our fellow Filipinos. The issuance of EO 59 stands as a testament to the government’s dedication to achieve these goals and achieve bureaucratic efficiency.”