Marcos orders creation of green lanes in gov’t offices for strategic investments

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has called for the creation of green lanes in government offices in order to promote the Philippines as a “top investment destination.”

In his Executive Order No. 18, the President said there is a need to ensure that the country’s regulatory environment is conducive to business operations to encourage investors to engage in strategic 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,” the EO stated.

The latest order covers all national government agencies (NGAs) and their regional and provincial offices, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other government instrumentalities, as well as local government units (LGUs), involved in the issuance of permits, licenses, certifications or authorizations (collectively referred to herein as ‘permit/s and/or license/s’) covering strategic investments.

Section 4 of the EO indicates that: 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 One-Stop-Action-Center for Strategic Investments (OSAC-SI).

The said green lane shall not be duplicative of the existing one-stop shops or one-stop action centers established through existing laws, the order said.

It also stated that strategic investments are those which are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan or any similar national development plan and 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.

Strategic investments will include highly desirable projects, foreign direct investments and projects or activities under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan, the EO added.

As stated in the EO, the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) shall establish a One-Stop-Action-Center for Strategic Investments (OSAC-SI), which shall serve as the single point of entry for all projects qualified as strategic investments, within six months from the issuance of this latest order from the President.

The OSAC-SI will also include aftercare or post-investment assistance as part of its services.

Meanwhile, the DTI-BOI shall 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.

Marcos also directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to make available to LGUs the software for the computerization of the business permit and licensing system, with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

A technical working group (TWG), which would be headed by the DTI-BOI, will be formed to ensure the implementation of the EO. Its members will include the DTI, DILG, Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority and the Anti-Red Tape Authority.

It was in November 2022 when DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual proposed the creation of an executive order about the provision of guidelines that will expedite processing of permits for strategic investments into the country and the creation of a green lane.

Non-compliance on the provisions of the EO will be a ground for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring public officer or employee, as provided under existing laws and regulations. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News