Local execs accept Duterte’s challenge

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan are confident they can comply with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to have business-friendly local government units (LGUs).

Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday, July 22, 2019, urged local chief executives to fast-track the processing and release of clearances and permits, if possible within three to four days.

“I’m glad to announce that in Cebu City, we already started doing that,” said Labella.

The City launched on Monday the Office of the Building Official (OBO) Integrated System, which shortens the time for processing building permits.

Labella advised city officials not to delay the releasing of documents as long as the applicants have complied with all the requirements.

He warned that disciplinary action awaits officials who delay the release of permits and clearances.

Chan also committed to implement Duterte’s order to fast-track the processing and releasing of permits in City Hall and help in the fight against illegal drugs and corruption.

Among Chan’s priorities are to build a drug rehabilitation center in Olango Island, rescue drug users and strengthen the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils in the city.

For those transacting with City Hall, particularly those applying for a business permit, Chan promised a three-day releasing period.

“Three days would be the maximum. If possible, we will release it in one to two days. Let’s not give people a hard time in securing a permit,” he said.

He said he may even do away with unnecessary requirements in processing certain permits and clearances to simplify the process.

Chan also warned that corrupt officials and employees would not only be slapped, as Duterte suggested. He would file complaints against them.

“Be assertive. When you are asked to give more than the required payment by government, again I’m telling you... make a scene. Slap those evil people. It would reach me anyway,” Duterte said in his Sona.

For Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III, the President’s Sona bore a powerful message, especially on the fight against corruption.

“Also, I strongly support him in his call for higher pay for nurses and teachers. This backs our advocacy for better health care and education services in Cebu,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cebu’s business community is also backing Duterte’s order to LGUs to simplify the processes in securing documents.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Virgilio Espeleta said the business sector is willing to work with the government in making transactions easier.

“We have been waiting for this. We can work together with LGUs on how we can simplify the process and campaign among our members and businesses to also go digital in their transactions with the government,” he said.

Among other issues, Espeleta singled out corruption as a serious economic problem and said the government should be more aggressive in preventing it.

He said there should be an “all-out war” against corruption, lamenting that government officials who have been linked to corruption still get public posts.

“We are embarrassed as well to see the reelection into office of people who were convicted or had cases of plunder or other forms of corruption,” Espeleta said. “We are embarrassed as well to see corrupt people recycled or reassigned to other sensitive and powerful posts.”

He also cited the need for businesses not to tolerate and to report cases of extortion by government officials.

For his part, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president Steven Yu said “many things are yet to be done” by the administration but noted the economic roadmap “is solid and clearly defined.” JJL/RTF/FVQ of SuperBalita Cebu/CSL/JOB/LRC


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