Senator Bam Aquino condemned the rampant harassment, red tape and other forms of corruption in government agencies, saying these illegal activities force foreign businessmen to pack their bags and bring their investments to other countries.
“Good governance is key in promoting ease of doing business. All forms of harassment and corruption at any level of government weakens our national competitiveness and hampers our drive for sustained economic growth,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
“These instances discourage prime potential investments, take away job and other livelihood opportunities for Filipinos and may hamper the nation’s achievement of its investment and growth targets,” added Aquino.
Aquino’s reaction stemmed from complaints of foreign nationals who experienced harassment, extortion and other forms of corruption in several government agencies while doing business in the country.
In addition, the senator said numerous permits, clearances and requirements, red tape, inconsistent regulations, and non-uniformity of fees being imposed are becoming too burdensome for investors.
“There is a need to simplify the procedure of registration for foreign investors in order to promote investments in the Philippines,” the senator stressed.
Aquino recently filed Resolution No. 762 seeking to conduct an investigation on the procedure of registration of foreign investments and fees imposed by government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry, Board of Investments and Bureau of Immigration.
“This move aims to rationalize the administration of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for foreign investors,” the senator said.
The BOI, as a policy-making body, is charged with the duties, among others, of preparing an annual investment priorities plan that gives incentives to specific activities.
It also recommends to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) the entry of foreign nationals for employment purposes and inspects registered enterprises for compliance purposes.
In addition, Aquino has initiated the creation of WASAK or the “Walang Asenso sa Kotong” hotline (16565 and 0908-8816565) where small businessmen can air their complaints and other issues against government agencies.