Only a third of more than 1,600 local government units (LGUs) have automated their licensing and permitting processes using the government system even if the software has been made available to them free of charge, the Anti Red Tape Authority (ARTA) reported.
ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica reported this at the launch of the “Kapihan sa Kapihan sa ARTA”, which was also marked by the agency’s accomplishment report after three years of the effectivity of the Ease of Doing Business and Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
Under the law, all LGUs are required to automate their business permitting and licensing system or the electronic Business One-Stop Shop (e-BOSS) by June 17, 2021 by adopting the Integrated Business Permits and Licensing System (iBPLS).
As the deadline lapsed today, June 17, ARTA is starting an audit of LGUs that have not complied with the requirement.
Despite the small number of IBPLS adoption, Belgica said that some LGUs may have their own existing automation system that could serve as compliance, but those non compliant or found to be of gross neglect of duty may face penalty and corruption charges, “But we will see what are the reasons for their difficulties.”
“As of May 31, a total of 580 LGUS are already utilizing the IBPLS free of charge so there is no reason to say that they have no budget,” he added.
Belgica said that to solve the issue on barangay clearance, this was already included in the office of the mayor and the fees will just be forwarded to the barangay after. There are 42,000 barangays around the country.
ARTA, however, is prioritizing the highly urbanized cities, roughly 33 cities out of 147 cities in their e-BOSS program implementation.
On efforts to streamline processing for starting a business, Belgica reported that the implementation of the Central Business Portal (CBP) in January this year has reduced the steps to one only from 13 steps in 2020 and to five days from 33 days last year.
CBP serves as the central system to receive applications and capture application data involving business-related transactions.
ARTA has also made significant efforts in pushing for automation on five most red tape prone sectors such as telco, food and pharma, logistics, energy, and housing under the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficiency Measures of Inter-related Agencies (NEHEMIAH).
NEHEMIAH has a definite period and clear targets which is 52 percent reduction of time, costs, requirements or procedures.
For the telco sector, permitting has been reduced to 8 permits from 30, requirements were down to 35 from 86 and processing in 16 days from 241 days. Steps in business transactions in the logistics sector have been reduced to 24 from 209 and 35 days for processing from 271. For the food and pharma sector, the steps have been cut to 9 from 28, requirements to 12 from 41 and processing days to 21 from 63.
Administrative Order 23 directs all government agencies covered by R.A. No. 11032 to eliminate overregulation within sixty (60) working days from its effectivity by submitting a compliance report to ARTA. ARTA shall then monitor and review the compliance of the covered agencies and report the findings and recommendations to the Office of the President.
There is also a high level of compliance on the submission of Citizen Charter by government agencies at 81 percent. A government agency’s Citizen Charter is important as this will guide businessmen on what are the requirements he will need for his business application.
ARTA has also received 295 submissions from various government agencies in compliance with Administrative Order 23 requiring all government agencies covered under ARTA Law to eliminate over regulation within 60 days. ARTA said it is going to monitor and review the compliance of the covered agencies and report their findings and recommendations to the Office of the President.
Meantime, ARTA Deputy Director General Ernesto V. Perez stressed that need to streamline government agency operations because this has a huge impact on the image of the country to businessmen as it affects the country’s competitiveness.
That is why ARTA is also conducting trainings on Regulatory Impact Assessment to assess the cost and benefits of the regulation on the part of those being regulated and the regulatory body.
To complement its twin efforts in enforcement and empowerment, ARTA Deputy Director General Carlos F. Quita saw the need to double their manpower to 400. He said they are still in the process of recruiting additional staff.