QC cuts red tape for permits

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2010 05:59 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2010 01:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Quezon City government has simplified procedures for acquiring business permits from as many as 12 steps to 3 in a bid to provide ease to entrepreneurs and eliminate corruption.

Since January, taxes generated by the city have gone up, thanks to its new registration system called "Business One-Stop Shop" or BOSS, which enables applicants to obtain business permits within 15 minutes.

Before, an application could take as long as 10 days.

"It's one center, one visit, one form, one payment. There used to be 8 forms, which asked the same things," said Pacifico Maghacot, chief of Quezon City's Business Permits and Licensing Office.

Maghacot said with BOSS, an applicant goes through only three steps: application evaluation, assessment and payment, and release of permit.

He said they set up the one-stop shop in line with the Aquino administration's promise to cut red tape, and get rid of illegal "fixing" where people offer to facilitate transactions with government offices for a fee and often in collaboration with corrupt employees.

Quezon City's new registration system comes on the heels of a project launched by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to speed up issuance and renewal of business permits and licenses.

DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said that based on a nationwide survey by his department, it takes about 10 days to get a business permit, and an average of 5 days to renew it. He said their project would shorten these procedures to 5 days, and 2 days, respectively.

Specifically, the project laid down five major steps for processing:

- Securing an application from the city or municipal government
- Filing or submission of accomplished form with attached documentary requirements (e.g. SEC/DTI/CDA certificates of registration, location map, barangay clearance, etc.)
- One-time assessment of taxes, fees, and charges
- One-time payment of taxes, fees, and charges
- Securing a mayor's permit upon submission of official receipt as proof of payment of taxes, fees, and charges imposed by the government

In 2009, a survey by the World Bank named the Philippines as one of the most difficult places in the world to do business -- the reason behind the lackluster flow of foreign investments into the country. The survey placed the Philippines 144th out of 183 countries in terms of ease in conducting transactions.

In Asia, the country's bureaucracy was perceived as the third worst, next to India and Indonesia, according to another survey by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy. - Based on a report by Charlie Pontejos, ABS-CBN News