Next to crime, red tape is another scourge that the succeeding President needs to put on top of government’s “hit-list” to put the country back in order.
“If the next President has a hit-list in the anti-crime campaign, he or she must also draw up a hit-list to cut down red tape in government transactions,” Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said.
“For starters, the next President may consider extending the validity of motor vehicle registration and drivers’ license as part of efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the Philippines,” the senator added.
Citing a report issued by the World Bank last October, Recto noted that red tape costs the country P140 billion in opportunity losses annually. The same report ranked the Philippines at a low 95th among 189 economies in overall ease of doing business.
As one way of cutting red tape, Recto said the next administration must study proposals to limit the number of times that an ordinary citizen has to go to government agencies to get licenses and transact business.
“There is, for example, a proposal in the Senate to increase the validity of the registration of new cars to more than five years, and drivers’ license from three years to five or six years,” Recto said.
“The benefits of having their validity extended are obvious from the holder’s point of view. Wala nang red tape. Walang pila,” he added.
Recto stressed that extending the expiry dates on licenses and registration is “the best anti-red tape app.”“
“It is commonsensical and costs nothing. Dumarami ang sasakyan, di naman dumarami ang Land Transportation Office (LTO) branches na pwede mong pagdalhan ng kotseng irerehistro.”
“We haven’t seen an increase in the number of LTO field offices that is commensurate to the tremendous rise in the number of vehicles,” he said.
Recto said concerns that a longer validity of permits will cut government income have no basis.
“Eh kung gagawing two years ang rehistro, e di i-multiply mo lang ng dalawa. Kung 3 years, eh di by three. Basta ang importante, wala nang annual pilgrimage sa LTO. Ang lisensya, kung apat na taon, eh di i-adjust mo by 25 percent ang formula. Pero ideally, there should be a reduction in fees. May premium in paying forward,” Recto said.
He said adjusting existing pollution checks before a car can be registered will have to be made once the life of a car registration is lengthened by law.
“Kaya ang gusto natin ay find the sweet spot that will lengthen the effectivity without sacrificing safety and roadworthiness,” Recto said.
Recto describes the LTO, which issues the permits, “as one big government cash machine.”
In 2013, its income rose to P17.2 billion, or a 17 percent jump from the P14.7 billion it earned in 2012.
The reason, Recto explained, can be traced to the steady increase in the number of motor vehicle registrations, from 7,138,000 in 2011 to 7,690,038 in 2013.
“Simply put, more than half-a-million vehicles were added in two years,” Recto said.