A couple of weeks back, I wrote in this column about the Philippine Red Tape Challenge, our take-off on the highly successful Britain's Red Tape Challenge. I wrote about how the Dept. of Trade under Sec. Mon Lopez and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) under Co-Chairman Bill Luz are collaborating to cut red tape in the government offices. Where before, for instance, business permits and licenses took between eight to ten days to process and release due to the numerous signatures needed, the government is bent on simplifying the rules and regulations in the country to improve the ease of doing business in the Philippines. NCC and DTI promised to have these permits and licenses in two days. The bottom line, says Sec. Lopez, is to cut the red tape, period.
The British government has been very supportive of this program of the National Competitiveness Council and they have very kindly provided the model for it. British consultants have been commissioned to measure the effects of the Red Tape Challenge in terms of cost savings. If the program worked well for the British, it should work well enough for the Philippines. Eliminating several unnecessary steps should make life easier for the Filipino businessman and the promise is to do it before the year ends. For those who have not felt the change and are still bogged down by red tape in these government offices, DTI promises swift action. Call their hot line for complaints.
Apparently, the NCC has already gotten the ball rolling way before its self-imposed deadline and before heads start rolling in the pertinent government agencies. We have received a lot of good response from our readers, and we are reprinting some of them here.
Ms. Rahula Cueno writes, "I am a new businesswoman, not yet an entrepreneur. I applied for my business name with DTI, applied for registration with BIR and applied for mayor's permit with the Sta. Rosa City Hall. It took me less than 15 minutes to obtain my DTI Registration, less than a day for the Certificate of Registration with the BIR, despite the 4 forms I have to accomplish and also less than a day for the temporary Mayor's Permit (the final permit will be issued when my store opens and (is) inspected by the Bureau of Fire Protection. How is that? Mabuhay ang Pilipino"!
While Ms. Agnes Mabute has this to say, "Salamat po at naliwanagan din ang ating gobyerno. Matagal na hong pabigat ang lumang palakad sa mga upisina ng gobyerno. And anak ko ho ay nagsisimula rin pong mag-negosyo at naranasan na rin po nya ang malaking pagbabago sa mga agencia ng gobyerno. Wala pa hong tatlong araw ay natapos nya po ang mga papeles nya. Maraming salamat po sa bagong pamamalakad sa DTI. Salamat di po sa inyo, Mr. Gamboa, dahil isinulat nyo po ito para malaman ng ating mga kababayan. Mabuhay ka."
And Mr. Angelo Matinao writes, "Greetings! I am writing re your column of Oct. 22, How's Business. I am happy to inform you that I am a "victim" of this new protocol in the government. I was able to get my licenses and permits in three days for me and my wife's new business, and I couldn't believe it. In addition to this, the staff from the DTI to the Mayor's office were very efficient and helpful, a far cry from before when I would encounter lazy, incompetent and impolite government workers. Let's hope the DTI will be able to sustain this. Keep up the good work."
Thank you to our letter writers. It appears that doing business in the Philippines has improved a lot because of the focused efforts of the DTI and the NCC as can be gleaned from the response I got from some readers. The Philippine Red Tape Challenge seems to be working well. Hopefully, this will improve our national competitiveness and encourage foreign businesses to come to our shores. I also hope this keeps up. This column always strives to share the good news about the Philippines to our readers because there is still a lot to be thankful for. Love our country because it is the only one we have. Enough of doomsayers.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.
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