MANILA - Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) director general Jeremiah Belgica on Friday urged local government units to extend the period for the renewal of business permits and real property tax payments until the end of the year.
This, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise, likely driven by the new omicron variant.
On Thursday, the Department of Health reported over 34,000 daily confirmed cases -- the highest ever since the pandemic.
“This is a time for us to approach situations with more compassion and sensitivity. With record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases being announced almost every day, we at ARTA believe it is only right to extend the period of renewal of business permits,” Belgica said.
“Public health should be the government’s topmost priority right now. People traveling to city halls to renew their business permits and pay their real property tax would not help in curbing the spread of the virus,” he added.
The period of renewal for business permits runs from Jan. 3 to Jan. 20. The LGUs have the power to extend this, ARTA noted.
Belgica also urged LGUs to fully automate business permitting and licensing systems in compliance with Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018
Doing so will allow both the public and the government to transact safely during the pandemic, he said.
Several agencies of the government, including the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Social Security System, have ramped up digitalization efforts during the pandemic.
The Philippines is also in the process of rolling out its national ID system.