Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos presents regulatory reforms adopted by the government for the improvement in the bureaucracy.

The Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) conducted the sixth of the eight KARTILYA Sessions on Productivity last November 24, 2017 with the theme, “Smart Regulation” with the objective of sharing to the public the various efforts of the government primarily the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) doing regulatory reforms for efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness of regulation in the various instrumentalities in the bureaucracy. The resource person was NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos.

On Regulatory Reforms.  Given the principle that regulation is of critical importance in shaping the welfare of economies and society together with fiscal and monetary policies, Assistant Secretary Abad Santos raised the issue that there is a pressing need to review these regulations and the reforms made are not only for compliance given the laws and other mandates but also and more importantly for the economic growth and development in the country. These regulatory reforms are seen to improve regulatory quality, enhance performance, ensure cost effectiveness, and/or guarantee legal quality of regulations that would bring about change in terms of labor productivity and growth rate. The key for regulatory improvement is good regulatory practices given internationally recognized processes, systems, tools, and methods that can be employed in the public sector. Assistant Secretary Abad Santos pointed out that we need to introduce a lot of regulatory reforms but these efforts have to be incremental since government institutions need some change management in terms of frameworks and operations to bring about and realize identified good regulatory practices. For Assistant Secretary Abad Santos, there are five elements that would facilitate regulatory reform and these are: 1. Internal coordination of rule-making activity; 2. Transparency and public participation; 3. Regulatory impact assessment; 4. International regulatory cooperation; and 5. extended policy options of good regulatory practices.

The Challenge.  Definitely, smart regulation is one key to economic growth. The government sector has the primary duty to ensure good regulation in the bureaucracy in order to attain the quality of government everyone desires. The public sector has to practice smart regulation as one major change in the entire Philippine bureaucracy. We need to continuously improve and innovate on our systems and procedures in order for us to optimize all opportunities this world can provide especially in the context of globalization, ASEAN Integration, and internationalization in an age of information and communication technology. We need to maximize technology to significantly improve the way things are done in the government. Fostering better regulatory practices within the Philippine government is not an easy process but it is an attainable goal, with the full commitment not only of the national regulatory agencies but also the local government units and the private sector.

Some Insights.  With regulatory policies, regulatory institutions, and regulatory tools as seen in the good regulatory practices hopefully forming part of regulatory reform initiatives in the country, enhancing the social fabric to ensure people-centered, clean and efficient governance to lay down the foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy is highly possible. There should be an increase in the competitiveness and the ease of doing business in the country to attract foreign direct investment. Enhancing regulatory quality is crucial to foster economic growth. Its impact is geared towards increase in productivity and decrease in corruption. When good regulatory practices are indeed implemented, the Philippines will be one with much better regulation.

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