President Rodrigo Dutrete's fight against red tape is now aimed at water after taking on telecommunications. The President wants water projects to move faster to ensure ample supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte issued Administrative Order No. 32, requiring state agencies to prioritize the review and approval of water infrastructure projects. Applications for permits, clearances, and authorization submitted with complete requirements shall be deemed approved if the agency concerned fails to act on it within a certain period.
Last July, Duterte's complaint in his State of the Nation Address over dropped calls prompted telcos to shorten the application period for tower building permits. Globe and Smart hope more cell sites will result in faster data connections and fewer "cannot be reached" messages.
The President said the bureaucracy “routinely and excessively delayed” infrastructure projects on water security. He directed the Anti-Red Tape Authority to oversee the processing of permits and barangay clearances.
"There is a need for the national government to pursue institutional reforms such as streamlining processes of concerned agencies to encourage and guide investments in water supply, sewerage and sanitation, and expedite the approval and processing of infrastructure flagship projects on water security, while respecting property rights and protecting public safety and the environment," Duterte said in the order.
He said there would be a "nationalization of water services" in areas where water distributors reject new government contracts.