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KEYNOTE SPEECH FOR THE SEC. RAMON M.

LOPEZ
LGU BUSINESS FORUM: PROMOTING BUSINESS FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH
17 October/ Makati Shangrila Hotel
It is our priority to improve the competitiveness of our country by offering a conducive atmosphere for businesses
in the Philippines. One of the marching orders of our President upon assumption to office is to enhance the local
business environment by addressing bottlenecks in business registration and processing, streamlining investment
application process, and integration of government services.
Last week alone, the President underscored the ease of doing business and business permit licensing system as top
agenda in major speeches around the country.
The Department of Trade and Industry, the agency mandated to promote trade and investment, recognises the
critical role of businesses as key driver of economic growth through investments and job generation. It our primary
responsibility to facilitate doing business in the country.
We are pleased to provide you with the developments in the area of ease of doing business:
Faster processing of business permits and registration. DTI, together with the Departments of the Interior and
Local Government (DILG) and Information and Communication Technology (DICT) has issued a Joint Memorandum
Circular (JMC) directing all local government units in the country to further reduce the time, steps, documents,
and the signatories required to get a business permit:
a.

Processing time. For new registration, it shall only take a maximum of two days, and a day for
renewal;

b.

Steps. For new registration and renewal, it should only require three steps at the most;

c.

Number of forms. Only one form (unified), in paper or electronic format should be used;

d.

Signatories. Maximum of two signatories (Mayor and the Head of Business Permits and Licensing
Office (BPLO) ) shall be required. They should have alternative signatories.

According to Cities and Municipalities Index 2016, there are 1,017 LGUs that process new business registration for a
maximum of two days. Likewise, 1,139 LGUs can process renewal of permits for a day or less. A majority of the
LGUs already comply with the joint circular of the three agencies.
After streamlining the business permits and licensing systems, we will proceed with the automation of
transactions. Processes involving application, registration, and payment will be computerised, with the assistance
and guidance of DICT.
The DILG, DTI and the DICT are now closely working together to roll out the new JMC nationwide by next month
that would include capacity building for LGUs.
Another welcome development is the directive of DILG Secretary Mike Sueno for the Bureau of Fire Protection to
co-locate, or place its offices in the premises of Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) of LGUs. BFP
personnel will be designated to these offices all year-round for cities and during renewal period for municipalities.
The LGUs shall collect all fees towards obtaining the Fire Safety Inspection Certificate and other requirements
cutting multiple and tedious processes in paying fees for the said certificate.
Streamlining cumbersome policies through Project Repeal. To clear most of the redundant and irrelevant
requirements for businesses tied with outdated, confusing and conflicting government rules and regulations, the
National Competitiveness Council (NCC) launched Project Repeal this year to remove layers of policies that
complicate work in bureaucracy. Over 21,000 rules and regulations coming from more than 50 government
agencies are being reviewed and possible repeal or delisting in the roster of active policies. On the Second Repeal
Day in December, we expect 478 issuances to be repealed, most of which have impact on customs regulations,
streamlining of regulatory processes governing import and export of poultry, livestock, and its by-products, and
amendment in Philippine National Standards.
Improving PH standing in Doing Business Report. The EODB Task Force spearheaded by DTI implements the
Gameplay for Competitiveness, a strategy designed to raise the Philippines ranking in the Doing Business Report
published by World Bank-IFC. The report covers 10 processes a business must undertake with several government
offices over its typical life cycle. The task force is composed of agencies involved in business registration and other

transactions. For the past four years, the country moved 45 notches from 148 th in 2011 to 103rd in 2015. We look
forward to our 2016 ranking with the report scheduled to be released by end of October.
In relation to this, the World Bank-International Finance Corporation in Washington has decided to include the
Philippines in the list of economies to be visited and assisted by the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Indicator Based Reform
(IBR) Team. This is a separate unit of EODB in charge of analysing the regulatory environment of different economies and
providing reform recommendations. IBR is different from the IFCs survey team in charge of data collection for the annual
DB report. We met with WB-IFC senior executives this morning and they will continue discussing recommendations to
government and private sector partners in our task forces within the week.

Promoting Competitiveness at the Local Level. LGUs are the building blocks of a globally-competitive Philippines
and to measure competitiveness we developed the Cities and Municipalities Index (CMCI), an annual ranking of
LGUs. We undertake this index with the help of Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) and the USAID. We
measure three important areas of LGUs performance: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and
Infrastructure. These factors make a local government unit attractive to investors. CMCI started in 2013 with 285
LGUs pioneering and has grown to 1,389 or 85% of the total LGUs in the country. We hope to cover all LGUs and
make our index as a solid guide for competitiveness.
Making business easier for MSMEs. Last October 10, DTI has signed an agreement with the Bureau of Internal
Revenue to confirm its link to the Philippine Business Registry and the eReg System. The agreement underscores
that businesses can apply for Business Name Registration, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and BIR Certificate
of Registration in DTI offices and online. The PBR also processes the release of registration numbers for social
agencies.
Also, DTI has opened 84 Negosyo Centers across the country since July to facilitate our businesses particularly
micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in setting up their enterprises. We now have a total of 339
Negosyo Centers nationwide. Each center serves as a one-stop shop providing services for MSMEs A centers core
of services include business registration assistance, advisory, and information and advocacy.
Representatives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, Philhealth, and Pag-IBIG Fund are
also present to provide MSMEs registration assistance. And just last week, the discussion has begun to designate
SEC teams in key offices and Negosyo Centers in the country.
Likewise, the center provides information on product development, market access, access to finance and
investment promotion to entrepreneurs to help them sustain and develop their businesses.
The DTI in partnership with Go Negosyo, launched Kapatid: Angat Lahat! last 01 August 2016. Kapatid is an
initiative that encourages medium and large corporations (Big Brother) to help Micro and Small enterprises (MSEs)
(Small Brother) through the use of Inclusive Business (IB) models. MSEs will be partnered with medium and large
enterprises to develop industries as part of their value chain. This would enable the MSEs to supply goods and
services that meet the required standards of the medium and large enterprises and to eventually sustain their
enterprise on their own.
Moving forward, let me share with you our plans to come up with a national government online licensing
system where all transactions related to business licensing will be automated and placed under specific portals for
easier access and convenience. Right now, we are in the process of conceptualizing this project, and hopefully we
could get the support of various sectors to make this possible.
All these efforts point towards our objective: to make it easier for investors and entrepreneurs to do business
here. Please see us not as an obstacle but as an ally in your journey. If you have concerns regarding the ease of
doing business, we at DTI are ready to hear and assist you. Your comments and suggestions will be of big help in
addressing these issues. A competitive Philippines can be achieved through the cooperation of government and
business community.
Thank you and God bless.