Lawmaker seeks easier permit process for small foreign contractors

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2018 10:14 PM

MANILA - The Philippines needs to cut the red tape for small foreign construction companies following President Rodrigo Duterte's directive last year to loosen 'restrictions' on certain investment areas, a lawmaker said Tuesday. 

Representative Arthur Yap, who chairs the House Committee on Economic Affairs, said that at present, small and medium-sized foreign contractors that have a net worth less than P1 billion have to secure a permit for each project they bid for. 

"So, if you have 12 projects in a year, magpapa-accredit ka ng 12 times. Kung meron kang 20, magpapa-accredit ka ng 20 times."

(If you have 12 projects in a year, you have to get accredited 12 times. You have to get accredited 20 times for 20 projects.)

Yap said that under House Resolution 898, these contractors will be able to get a regular permit that will be valid for any number of projects.

It was the Philippine Competition Commission that brought this to their attention, Yap said, through a policy note that called the current practice anti-competitive and counterproductive. 

"There are no laws discriminating against construction companies local and foreign. So kung ganun nga (So if that's the case) we should encourage more to come in." 

Yap also said the proposal won't harm the small local contractors or steal jobs from Filipinos as small firms are less likely to bring in foreign laborers.