Republic Act No. 11517 Authorizes President to Expedite the Issuance of Permits, Licenses and Certifications During National Emergencies
The President signed on 23 December 2020 Republic Act No. 11517 or “An Act Authorizing the President to Expedite the Processing and Issuance of National and Local Permits, Licenses and Certifications in Times of National Emergency” (“RA 11517“).
RA 11517 covers all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus offices, commissions, boards, councils, government instrumentalities, and government-owned and controlled corporations.
Under Section 2 of the law, the President, in times of national emergency, shall have the authority to (a) accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications, or authorizations including fixing or shortening the periods provided for under existing laws, regulations, issuances, and ordinances; (b) suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations; and (c) prescribe to be permanent the streamlines regulatory processes and procedures and the suspension or waiver of the requirements in securing permits, licenses, clearances and certifications or authorizations, upon consultation with or the recommendation of the affected government agencies.
The law does not provide for an automatic acceleration during a national emergency but only delegates authority to the President, who must issue a corresponding order.
As an exception to this emergency acceleration, the same Section 2 of the law makes it clear that it cannot be used to undermine the existing procedures and processes, under applicable laws, rules and regulations, meant to protect the environment especially those that aim to safeguard protected areas and its buffer zones, and environmentally critical areas.
In addition to this authority and consistent with the Constitution, Revised Administrative Code, other laws, and jurisprudence, RA 11517 also grants the President the power to suspend or remove any government official or employee performing acts contrary to Section 2 of the law.
Pursuant to its Section 6, RA 11517 shall take effect upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.