House seeks 1-day business permit processing

Applicants at the Business Licensing and Processing Office of Lucena City.

One-day processing of business permit application, at least in the barangay level, will be a reality if a House bill on ease of doing business is passed into law.

The House committee on trade and industry approved this week the unnumbered bill titled “An Act Establishing a National Policy on Ease of Doing Business, Creating for the Purpose the Ease of Doing Business Commission” that seeks to lessen the documentation procedure and waiting days in business permit application.

The substitute bill for House Bill No. 2171, 5031, 5093, 5383, 5634, 5809, and 6401 prescribes a maximum processing time of one working day for barangay governments, three working days for simple applications, and 10 working days for complex applications from the time of their receipt.

For special types of businesses where issuance of licenses first require technical evaluation or similar processes, the bill prescribes a maximum processing time of 30 working days.

In the event that the government unit or agency fails to process the application within the prescribed period, the application is automatically deemed approved, according to the substitute bill.

The substitute bill also provides for the establishment of a computerized or software-enabled business permitting and licensing system (BPLS) for fast application processing and the establishment of a Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) in every city and municipality that will receive and process manual or electronic submission of license, clearance, or permit applications.

Currently, there are 16 procedures and 28 days to start a business in the country compared to 7 procedures and 23 days in Southeast Asia.

“Basically we want to be at par or maybe better than these regional neighbours,” said Rep. Ferjenel Biron (4th District, Iloilo), chair of the committee.

Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong (1st District, Negros Oriental) said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can take up to two years before they issue approval for a restaurant or food business permit.

Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte (2nd District, Camarines Sur) said the rapid growth of foreign investment in neighboring states due to their simplified procedures and shortened processing period.

Villafuerte said local governments should not prolong the processing of business permit applications to 30 days when the applicant has complete documents.