On May 28, 2018, Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business (EDB) Act” was passed. The EDB Act amended the ARTA or Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 to encourage competitiveness and improve the overall business environment. The amendments are aimed at providing the public with quality government service as quickly as possible while substantially reducing expense, inconvenience, and wasted time.
But in the Municipality of Malay, specifically in Boracay Island, which has become the milking cow of some politicians through their nefarious activities, this particular law is being violated by the current administration with impunity. Consider the following:
Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista issued an order (not a written one though) that on top of all the requirements for the application of renewal for vehicle permit to operate, he has to interview all the applicants in person.
“Pag walang approval sakin, walang permit,” the acting mayor was quoted as saying.
If the acting mayor’s intent is to regulate the entry of vehicles on Boracay, good, but you see, he cannot even regulate the entry of illegal vehicles on the island, which only makes his current campaign in zeroing on the vehicles that are legally existing on the island cast so much doubts as to his real intent.
So what does he violate? The acting mayor is actually violating the “Zero-contact Policy” as provided for by the said law.
Section 1 Rule 5 of the said Act, as a rule, prescribes all local government units and government agencies to adopt a zero-contact policy and public officials and employees shall limit interactions with an applicant or requesting party to the preliminary assessment and evaluation of sufficiency of submitted requirements.
In fact, he should know that in adherence to the spirit of the said law, it mandates all local government units to have an “Electronic Versions” of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, or authorizations, which shall have the same level of authority as hard copies and may be printed by the applicants or requesting parties.
The question is this? Is it still necessary for the acting mayor to interview the applicants renewing their permits despite the submission of their completed documents?
I believe that is in gross violation to the intent sense behind RA No. 11032 requiring government agencies to streamline business registration and compliance procedures. And, in a sense, prone to the commission bribery and extortion in the process.
As of this writing, a number of applicants are queueingup while facing a blank wall of the new process and are really, really mad at this “power-tripping” acting mayor. They couldn’t do anything though but to follow the order.
And the thing is, the applicants have to undergo a tedious process which starts from riding a boat to Caticlan then a motor ride to the Municipal Building in the mainland Malay because the BOSS or the Business One-Stop-Shop situated on the island is practically non-functioning.
I can still recall that past administrations made use of that BOSS situated at the Malay Satellite Office in Brgy. Balabag to make it easy for their constituents to deal with the local government. In that BOSS are housed the offices of the PNP, BFP, Philhealth and Pagibig, which the current administration had disbanded and, is therefore, an expressed violation of this particular law.
Another thing, this corner has to remind the acting mayor that he cannot just deny application for renewal of permits by his “mere word”. He has to do it in writing stating the grounds of his denial as specified in Section 4 Rule 7 of the said Act.
Perhaps, if the acting mayor still doesn’t know, this corner wishes to inform him that violations of the following offenses constitute administrative liabilities ranging from suspension, dismissal from the service, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, including forfeiture of retirement benefits and imprisonment of 1 to 6 years with a fine of not less than P500,000 to not more than P2,000,000:
- Refusal to accept an application or request with complete requirements without due cause;
- Imposition of additional requirements or fees other than those required in the Citizen’s Charter;
- Failure to give the applicant or requesting party a written notice of disapproval;
- Failure to render government service within prescribed processing time;
- Failure to attend to applicants or requesting parties who are within their premises prior to end of official working hours and during lunch break; and
- Failure or refusal to issue official receipts; and (g) Fixing and/or collusion with fixers.
And, of course, a criminal liability can also be incurred if violation of this law was done deliberately and maliciously to solicit favor in cash or kind, or to commit bribery and extortion in the process.
Does Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista know this? (Comments are welcome at [email protected])