SONA 2019 looks to a more responsive govt service

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In his fourth state of the nation address (SONA) delivered this afternoon, July 22, at the Batasang Pambansa, President Rodrigo r\R. Duterte directed all government offices to simplify the procedures they follow in providing public service.

In particular, he specified that permits and licenses required by the public be processed within three days, This directive may be seen to include business-related socuments, such as barangay clearances, municipal licenses,, business name registration by the Department of Industry, registration for official receipts and taxation by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, as well as registration with the Social Security System, Department of Labor and Employment, and others which MSMEs have to transact with.

The President said that despite his having signed last year the “Ease of Doing Business Act,” government offices have not simplified and expedited their processing procedures.

“Simplify, make your services responsive to public needs,” he urged. “Be client friendly. and remember that our client is the Filipino, who happens to be our employer, the one who pays our salaries.”

The President also announced that more funding will be made available to MSMEs. In previous years, he cited, P 3 billion worth of loans were lent to almost 86,000 small businesses.

The President, however conceded that corruption persists in government and urged the public to be more assertive in demanding service and vigilant in reporting cases of incompetence and corruption in their encounters with government employees.

He also said that the drug problem still persists and announced support for the death penalty for those convicted of heinous crimes.

This year’s address is being touted as a “legacy SONA” — referring to “hard legacy” or infrastructures such as highways, subways, railway systems and bridges put up during the President’s term.

The SONA also cited gains in the war against poverty. Five million Filipinos have been lifted from the poverty line, the President said.