DTI needs private sector help to improve EODB
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is urging the business community to take part in the government’s efforts to improve ease of doing business by filing complaints and reporting corrupt and unfair practices encountered in transactions with government agencies.

The call was made by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez during the recent Entrepreneur’s Summit organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry as he said businesses could already file complaints as the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act is already in effect.

This, even as the government has yet to issue the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law.

“Your support, through filing proper complaints, is very important in enforcing the law and to put those government employees and officials accountable and liable for wrong practices and making doing business in the country difficult,” Lopez said.

Republic Act 11032 or the EODB and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act signed by President Duterte in May last year, has a two-strike policy and provides administrative and criminal liabilities for government employees and officials who commit violations of the law including failure to deliver service within the prescribed processing time on application; refusal to accept applications or requests for permits with complete requirements without due cause; as well as imposition of additional requirements or costs other than those listed in the Citizen’s Charter.

As the EODB Act seeks to eliminate bureaucratic red tape in government, it provides a required period of time for transactions with agencies to be completed.

In particular, simple government transactions should be completed within three days, while those considered as complex need to be finished within seven days, and the highly technical ones within 20 days.

Lopez said city or municipal business process and licensing offices should not require the same documents already provided by an applicant or requesting party to local government departments.

In addition, he said government agencies and personnel cannot sell, offer, or recommend specific brands of fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment to applicants, requesting parties, or business entities.

Last April, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) which oversees the implementation of the EODB, has submitted the revised IRR as well as the request to be given authority by the Office of the Executive Secretary for the issuance of the rules.

The request was made as the IRR could only be officially released when a director general for the ARTA is appointed.

ARTA officer-in-charge Ernesto Perez said in a text message over the weekend, the Office of the Executive Secretary has yet to give a response to the request.

As part of the reforms being undertaken to improve ease of doing business in the country, Lopez said the government is currently working on the Doing Business Design Sprint, which will allow business registration to be completed online via a portal requiring only one form and one number for all transactions.

“When everything can be transacted through a smartphone 24/7, that’s the ease of doing business,” he said.

 “There are a number of government initiatives we’re currently implementing. If properly executed, with your support, the whole business process – from starting your business to trading across borders – should become faster, easier, and less costly,” he added.

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