Pasig gov't works overtime to renew permits of late applicants

By Christine Cudis

January 17, 2020, 8:07 pm

<p><strong>WORKING OVERTIME.</strong> Government employees are working overtime to accommodate the volume of people seeking business renewals before the deadline on January 20. Arvin Alejandria (in photo) said they are open until 11 p.m. since January 16. <em>(PNA photo by Christine Cudis)</em></p>

WORKING OVERTIME. Government employees are working overtime to accommodate the volume of people seeking business renewals before the deadline on January 20. Arvin Alejandria (in photo) said they are open until 11 p.m. since January 16. (PNA photo by Christine Cudis)

MANILA -- Government employees are working overtime to accommodate the huge volume of people seeking for business permit renewals before the deadline on January 20.

In Pasig City, the sports complex is almost filled on Friday by people who have just started their application for permit renewal this week.

In an interview, city’s Business Permit and License Office (BPLO) chief Melanie de Mesa said they hope the people would outgrow the attitude of coming in at the last minute to the accomplish tasks.

“When we started on January 2 and until the first week, there are only a few people, but the previous days nearing the deadline has been tough for both of us (the processors and the applicants) because the job becomes heavy due to the sudden flock of people,” de Mesa told the Philippine News Agency.

As of January 16, de Mesa said they have only issued 4,434 permits- not even close to a quarter of the total number of registered businesses which is 37,955. Of the figure, a total of 13,300 have renewed their licenses, pending the issuance of permits.

De Mesa, on the other hand, said they are hopeful that they would issue all the permits needed as the team has done so for two consecutive years.

“We don’t want to break the record,” she added.

Arvin Alehandria, a business permit encoder, said they have been working overtime the previous days since January 16. They would work until 11 p.m.

Nakakapagod pero kakayanin. Siguro, ngayong gabi rin (It’s tiring but we would endure. Maybe, we would also go home late tonight),” he said.

Head of Ugnayan sa Pasig (Freedom of Information Unit) Winnie Rayos-Dimanlig, who also monitors the renewal season of business permits, said another cause of delay is applicants who have not prepared all the necessary requirements.

“The taxpayers, some of them (many of them), don’t have complete requirements so when they fall in line too long and reach the second step or third and realize they did not bring everything we asked for, it will be a cause of delay because they would have to go home and be back the next day,” Rayos-Dimanlig said, adding that posters of the required materials for permit renewals were plastered on barangay halls and at the facade of the City Hall.

ARTA intervention

Officials of the Anti-Red Tape Authority, along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), did a surprise inspection on Friday, recommending points to the Pasig BPLO personnel and commending their good work.

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica said it would be better if the business owners will be asked to renew their permits on their "Anniversary Day" rather than have everyone, regardless of when they applied, renew it at the same time in January (business permit renewal season).

Belgica said they have been going on a tour of the BPLOs in the metro to observe and assess their current processing system, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to streamline government transactions.

“We regularly have these inspections to our LGUs so we would know what to improve and how to devise a better and structured design to hasten the process,” he added.

Belgica checked each step and talked to the department heads what they did well and what to do more. After the observations were collated, the DILG would set up a meeting with the City Mayor and BPLO chief to further discuss the plans' implementation.

Meanwhile, ARTA Deputy Director-General Ernesto Perez said among the City BPLOs in the metro that they have visited, they were so far impressed by Valenzuela City.

“Theirs is a model system, they are already fully automated. They made it easy for both themselves and their people. The vision is to have the processing streamlined - the person just submits his application with their requirements, it will already go through all the attached offices, and the next time he will fall in line is to claim his permit,” Perez said.

In the previous year, the ARTA team has visited regional offices nationwide to inspect government offices where they also filed cases against violators.

In 2020, they are starting with the Metro Manila BPLOs but will soon inspect other regions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Since ARTA, one of the offshoots of the Ease of Doing Business Act signed by Duterte in 2018, was set up, the Philippines’s ranking in the World Bank 2020 Ease of Doing Business report was at 95th place from the 124th rank.

The Philippines' over-all score also improved to 62.9 from 60.9 in 2019. (PNA)