MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte, in the presence of Congress leaders, signed into law Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act on Monday, May 28.
The new law, an amendment of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, seeks to make the process of putting up and running a business in the Philippines easier and more efficient.
Duterte hopes the law will "solve the perennial problem of bureaucratic red tape" in government and "spare people of intolerable waiting time."
Lawmakers have said RA 11032 was crafted in order to attract more foreign investments to the Philippines. The passage of the law comes after the Philippines slipped 9 notches in the 2018 World Competitiveness Yearbook – the worst decline among countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the signed law.
The salient features of the law, based on the consolidated versions of the House and Senate bills and Duterte's speech are:
Standardized deadline for government transactions - Simple transactions of business entities with government should be processed within 3 days, 7 days for more substantial transactions, and 20 days for highly technical transactions.
Single unified business application form - The new law does away with entrepreneurs having to fill up multiple forms for various government agencies just to put up their business. The law mandates the use of a single form that incorporates past separate forms on local taxes, sanitary permit, zoning clearance, building clearance, fire clearance, and other usual local government unit (LGU) requirements. There will be a unified form for business permits and business renewals.
Environmental and agricultural clearances, sanitary permits, and other local permits will be issued along with the business permit which shall be valid for one year.
Business one-stop shop - To put up a business, one need only visit one facility. The law orders local governments to put up a "one-stop shop" or a facility that puts zoning offices, business permit and licensing offices, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and treasury offices in one location.
Automated, electronic system - Local government units are required to automate their systems for processing business permits. They should also put up an electronic business one-stop shop within 3 years of the law's enactment.
Zero-contact policy - A new feature is a provision in the law that states that, save for the "preliminary assessment" of the business application and submitted requirements, "no government officer or employee shall have any contact, in any manner, unless strictly necessary with any applicant or requesting party concerning an application or request." The provision is designed to eliminate corruption in agencies that process business applications.
Central business portal and Philippine Business Databank - The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will establish a central business portal that will receive all business applications. A Philippine Business Databank, meanwhile, will serve as a repository of information on all registered businesses in the country which government agencies and LGUs may use as a resource for verification purposes.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.