All LGUs required to automate business transactions by June

Published April 13, 2021, 4:10 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

All 1,600 LGUs have until June 17, 2021 to put up electronic Business One-Stop Shop (eBoss) to streamline business permitting and licensing in their respective municipalities and cities to eliminate government red tape right at the grassroot level.

This was made possible with the signing of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01 series 2021 on the Guidelines for Processing Business Permits, Related Clearances and Licenses in All Cities and Municipalities by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT).

With the JMC, local government units (LGUs) have until 17 June 2021 to put up an eBoss through the Business Processing and Licensing Systems (BPLS) of the DICT to automate their functionalities such as online submission of business permit applications, digital payment options, and issuance of electronic versions of permits, licenses, or clearances. This aims to lessen people-to-people contact and promote strict observance of health protocols amid the pandemic. 

“In their transition to the fully automated business registration system or eBoss, LGUs are encouraged to adopt a partly manual and partly electronic/online system that will reduce the number of steps for processing business permits to less than 4,” the JMC stated.

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (FACEBOOK/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said that through the software provided by DICT,  LGUs are guided in streamlining and eventual end to end automation of their licensing and permitting processes up to the payment of taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Belgica expects at least 147 highly urbanized cities and municipalities to have fully automated their eBoss by June 17 and 500 other LGUs by end this year. The eBoss is pursuant to Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which requires the streamlining of government business permits and licenses processes three years from the law’s effectivity.

At present, some LGUs have already a measure of automation in their business permit and licensing processes through the BPLS of the DICT. 

According to the DICT, there are already 446 LGUs with memorandum of agreements with them and over 200 of them have already in the operational stage of their BPLS. DICT is also looking at other ways to assist LGUs with connectivity problem.

“The period is June 17, so for this year we are going to look into the compliance of these LGUs together with DILG  on why not complying or in the process of compliance to understand, but if there is apparent disregard of the JMC or the law then definitely could lead to investigation and filing of case for disregard of duty,” said Belgica. 

While Belgica was putting emphasis on the highly urbanized cities for immediate compliance because they have the most number of processes and larger population, he also stressed that the DICT software also works well with the smaller LGUs in the rural areas. 

The JMC also standardizes the documentary requirements, steps, and processing time related to business registration up to three days only with minimum three signatures only.

One example is the creation of Unified Application Form (UAF) of LGUs to serve as the application form for the “Business Permit, the Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate (FSIC) for business, the Locational Clearance or its equivalent, the Sanitary Permit and the Environmental Permit (if required).” Another is the cutting down of the number of signatories on permits. 

“[T]he Business Permit and related ancillary permits such as but not limited to the Locational Clearance, Sanitary Permit, the Barangay Business Clearance and the Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate for business shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) signatures representing the officers directly supervising the office/department concerned responsible for the permit/clearance,” the memorandum circular stated. 

But apart from this, ARTA is set to ink two more joint memoranda with its partner agencies. 

The succeeding circular titled “Omnibus Guidelines on the Suspension of LGU Imposition and Collection of Illegal Fees and Taxes Relative to the transport of Goods and Products” addresses the complaints received by the DILG “that some local governments still charge fees, taxes and charges on the transportation of goods and products carried into or out of, or passing through the territorial jurisdictions of these LGUs in the guise of sticker fee, discharging fee, delivery fee, market fee, toll fee and/or mayor’s permit fee, among others.” 

The circular mandates concerned personnel and agencies to “refrain from enforcing any existing ordinance authorizing the levy of fees and taxes on inter-province transport of goods or merchandise, regulatory fees in local ports, and other additional taxes, fees or charges in any form upon the transport of goods or merchandise.” 

The signing for the said document is scheduled on Thursday, 16 April 2021. 

In addition, a supplemental to JMC No. 1 s. 2020 will also be executed later this month “to harmonize the provisions of Republic Act 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” and the guidelines for the shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure from the mentioned memorandum. 

Earlier this year, the country had seen recent improvement in its internet speed ranking after JMC No. 01 s. 2020 significantly shortened the processing time of telco permit and licenses from eight months to just 16 days. It also downsized documentary requirements from 86 to 35 and reduced 13 permits to eight. 

 
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