Cebu biz leaders welcome Duterte’s hard stance vs. corruption, bureaucratic red tape

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz July 23,2019 - 10:16 AM

CEBU CITY—Business leaders welcome support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s tough policies against corruption and bureaucratic red tape, which the latter expressed during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Virgilio Espeleta, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said it was a “nice gesture” for the President to emphasize the point that he is truly against corruption and that anyone can even make a scene and report to 888 any misdoing of collecting “informal fees.”

Virgilio Espeleta, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. | contributed photo

According to Espeleta, he concurred with what the President said about corruption. Duterte said corruption as a national embarrassment and a national shame.

“I agree. In fact, it has become a negative attribute among us Filipinos and a bad reputation; an embarrassment when described in how to do business in the Philippines,” Espeleta said. 

“We are embarrassed as well to see re-election into office of people who were convicted or had cases of plunder or other forms of corruption. We are embarrassed as well to see corrupt people recycled or reassigned to other equally sensitive & powerful posts,” the CCCI president added. “Is corruption becoming a Filipino culture? The root causes of poverty are greed & corruption.”

He also maintained that ‘if there’s a war against drugs, there should be an all-out war against corruption.’

 “We like the approach of dismantling systemic and “syndicated” collections by replacing the whole team of a particular corrupt agency. Otherwise even a newly assigned leader of unblemished record can only be ganged up or misled by the syndicate within the agency,” Espeleta said. 

Read more: Highlights of Duterte’s 4th State of the Nation Address

Rey Calooy, founder and president of the Filipino Cebuano Business Club Inc. (FCBCI), welcomed the hard stance of President Rodrigo Duterte against corruption, which the latter expressed when he delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

 “Actually, this has been long been overdue. Local and national corruption still exists. Even in the LTO (Land Transportation Office), (corruption in) getting new driver’s license is rampant. If one can’t give even a small amount, they will fail you in the examinations,” Calooy said. 

According to Calooy, people must report any corruption not only by dialling 888 but should also file a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Rey Calooy, founder and president of Filipino Cebuano Business Club Inc. | contributed photo

Both business leaders also appreciated the approval of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act and the Presidents directive to local government units (LGUs) and government corporations to simplify processes by doing these electronically.

“We have been waiting for this (EODB). We can work together with LGUs on how we can simplify the process and campaign among our members and businesses to be digital in their transactions with the government. Online payment is the way to go!” Espeleta said.  

Meanwhile, Calooy said this law would be good for the business sector since it would help fast track any investment that may come in without going through the red tape of government agencies.

Espeleta also expressed support for the Tabaha bill. “However, we appreciate that legislators who are not even businessmen, must consult first the business sector and avoid populist laws that could kill their businesses and thus crippling the economy,” he added. 

According to Espeleta, laws on taxes and mandatory salaries should take into account the country’s position in terms of competitiveness and attractiveness versus other countries. 

Calooy said they also support the President’s call for Congress to approve the Trabaho Bill, which lowers corporate taxes, among others.

“We are also waiting for this because we are one of the highest, in terms of corporate taxes in Asia,” Calooy said. “Once approved, this could help spark nation’s economy to greater heights. More investors are encouraged to invest in the Philippines.” /bmjo

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TAGS: CCCI, Cebu Business leaders, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Duterte SONA 2019, Ease of Doing Business Act, EODB act, FCBI, Filipino Cebuano Business Club Inc.

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