Meralco turns over 500 computers to ARTA to help LGUs digitalize

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2023 05:55 PM

LGU beneficiaries together with ARTA receive Meralco’s pledge to provide 500 computers. Meralco says it will expand its contribution to help LGUs comply with the Ease of Doing Business Law. Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News
LGU beneficiaries together with ARTA receive Meralco’s pledge to provide 500 computers. Meralco says it will expand its contribution to help LGUs comply with the Ease of Doing Business Law. Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Manila Electric Company turned over to the Anti-Red Tape Authority 500 computers to help them comply with a digitalization requirement that was supposed to have already been in full effect on June 17, 2021. 

ARTA Director General, Secretary Ernesto Perez said as of March 10 this year, only 219 LGUs out of a total of 1,634 are already fully automated, while 287 are partially automated. Full compliance is only at 13 percent, while full and partial compliance is at 31 percent. 

Perez said the reasons given for the poor compliance include a lack of budget, capacity, and connectivity, especially in the smaller LGUs far removed from major economic centers. This was confirmed by LGU representatives who expressed gratitude for the help Meralco and ARTA are providing. 

LGU officials from Rizal and Laguna say it was very difficult to digitalize or computerize their business permitting because of a lack of resources and capacity, or poor connectivity. 

The program with Meralco, called PasPas Pilipinas PasPas, is meant to solve the issue of budget and capacity. 

Under the program, 500 computers will be distributed to 166 LGUs. The LGU officials in charge of licensing and permitting will also be trained and oriented on how to use the computers, and how to use software developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology for the Electronic Business One Stop Shop or EBOSS.

Data from compliant LGUs show tax revenue collections from businesses have generally increased once LGUs set up their EBOSS. Some see an increment in revenues of hundreds of millions of pesos. 

The latest data however comes from 2022, coinciding with the reopening of the economy following mobility restrictions enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nevertheless, ARTA and DILG fully expect improved ease of doing business to have a positive effect including but not limited to local employment, business profitability, and revenue generation for LGUs. 

Speaking at the event, Meralco’s William Pamintuan said they are willing to expand the current agreement until LGU compliance with the EBOSS requirement hits 100 percent.

Regarding poor connectivity, ARTA is in ongoing talks with tower companies and telcos to speed up the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in far-flung LGUs. 

Stakeholders such as Transcend Towers Infrastructure, iSON Towers, and PhilTower, alongside Globe and Panhandle Telephone Cooperative have all met with ARTA in the hopes of forming a memorandum of agreement on how to streamline bureaucratic bottlenecks to speed up infrastructure construction.

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