PBBM orders creation of ‘green lane’ for strategic investments

February 24, 2023 People's Tonight 280 views

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has issued an executive order (EO) establishing a “green lane” for strategic investments in government offices to attract more foreign investments.

EO 18, inked by Marcos on Feb. 23, covers all national government agencies (NGAs) and their regional and provincial offices, government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other government instrumentalities, as well as local government units (LGUs), involved in the issuance of permits, licenses, certifications or authorizations for strategic investments.

According to the EO, strategic investments are those aligned with the Philippine Development Plan or any similar national development plan.

EO 18 emphasizes that strategic investments “can be characterized by the significant capital or investment to the country; consequential economic impact; positive impact on the environment; significant contribution to the country’s balance of payments; with complex technical processes and engineering designs; and will improve the country’s infrastructure capabilities.”

Under the new EO, strategic investments include highly desirable projects, foreign direct investments and projects or activities under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan.

Within six months from the issuance of the EO, the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) is directed to establish a One-Stop-Action-Center for Strategic Investments (OSAC-SI), which will serve as the single point of entry for all projects qualified as strategic investments.

“The concerned NGAs, including their regional and provincial offices when applicable, LGUs, and quasi-judicial bodies shall establish or designate, whichever is applicable, a Green Lane within their offices in charge of expediting and streamlining the processes and requirements for the issuance of permits and licenses of Strategic Investments endorsed by the OSAC-SI,” EO 18 read.

Based on the EO, the concerned NGA or LGU should enable the electronic submission of application, while all remaining cities and municipalities should facilitate the computerization of their respective business permit and licensing systems.

The EO directs the DTI, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to provide technical assistance in the planning and implementation of a computerized or software-enabled business permit and licensing system.

The processing for the issuance of a permit or license should not be longer than three working days for simple transactions, seven working days for complex transactions and 20 working days for highly-technical transactions upon receipt of the complete application.

The processing period may be extended only once for the same number of days, while denial of such application should be made in writing within the same prescribed time.

After the lapse of the original or extension period, the NGA or LGU should issue the requested permit or license, otherwise, the DTI-BOI would endorse the case to the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

“The OSAC-SI shall address investor concerns starting with identifying and designating an investment as Strategic Investment under this Order and endorse the same to concerned NGAs, LGUs, and/or quasi-judicial bodies for processing of permits and licenses, and monitoring and reporting of actions taken thereof. The OSAC-SI shall include aftercare or post-investment assistance as part of its services,” it added.

Within three months from the issuance of EO 18, the DTI-BOI is mandated to produce and regularly update an investor manual or guidebook or its equivalent, containing the list of government requirements for the establishment of strategic investments per sector, as well as the concerned NGAs, LGUs or quasi-judicial bodies issuing relevant permits and licenses.

The DTI-BOI will be supported additional manpower, including the designation of Account Officers for Strategic Investments, as well as equipment necessary to operationalize the OSAC-SI, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management.

EO 18 also orders the creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG), which would be headed by the DTI-BOI, to ensure the implementation of the EO.

Member-agencies of the TWG include the DTI, DILG, ARTA, the Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority.

EO 18, which was made public on Friday, takes effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

The latest move was part of the Marcos administration’s commitment to promote ease of doing business in the Philippines and make the country competitive with other Southeast Asian nations in attracting foreign direct investments.

“Consistent with the Eight-Point Agenda of the Administration, and as part of the continuing efforts of implementing ease of doing business reforms, it is imperative to adopt measures that will expedite transactions with the government,” EO 18 said. Philippine News Agency