INVESTORS  SUBMIT  LONG LIST  OF  GRIPES  ON  GOVT  BUREAUCRATIC  RED  TAPE

MANILA, OCTOBER 11, 2006
(STAR) By Aurea Calica - Foreign businessmen have submitted their complaints to the government on bureaucratic red tape and inefficiency to help the Philippines improve its competitiveness.

Trade Secretary Peter Favila said the task forces on anti-red tape and competitiveness created by President Arroyo received the list from foreign chambers of commerce with an open mind and vowed to address them at the soonest time possible to attract more investments.

Red tape is making business more costly in the Philippines and discourages foreign investors from coming in, he said.

"The foreign chambers consolidated their concerns and identified three areas that they want us to immediately act on. These are improving on what they described as bureaucratic paper work when it comes to claiming the VAT (value added tax) refunds, the issuance of the tax credit certificates, and the processing of work permits and visas," Favila told reporters.

He explained that because foreign chambers have submitted a "very long list" of complaints, he asked them to identify three items they wanted to be addressed immediately.

"And there is a menu of other issues that they would want us to look into," Favila said, adding that the foreign chambers also itemized their concerns against the agencies where they had experienced the most difficulty.

These include the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, local government units, Social Security System, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, Department of Health, Bureau of Product Standards, Bureau of Food and Drugs, Philippine National Police, TESDA, Philippine Health Insurance Inc., Laguna Lake Development Authority, PEZA, Land Transportation Office, Optical Media Board, National Telecommunications Commission, National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.

Favila said he wants to conduct consultations with the various government agencies to see what could be done.

Some complaints though could be easily addressed like the Philippine consulate in Dubai, which reportedly takes 13 days to issue a visa for visitors to the Philippines; the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, which reportedly takes 21 months to process payment of contracts; and the NDCC, which has supposedly not acted on a proposal by a private entity to donate 3,500 houses in December 2004.

Favila said the foreign chambers and the government would meet periodically to address the concerns.

Mrs. Arroyo vowed to improve the country’s competitiveness after Spanish officials highlighted the problem on bureaucratic red tape in the Philippines during her trip to Madrid recently.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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