8 February 2022 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) issued a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) for the establishment of the Philippine Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Reporting System in a virtual ceremonial launch on Monday.

The Philippine EODB Reporting System is a version of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Doing Business (DB) Report that employs the use of a localized methodology and criteria that is more tailored fit to the Philippine setting.

It will measure the quality of regulatory practices of government agencies in relation to their adoption of the 10 Philippine Good Regulatory Principles (PGRP). It will also measure the compliance of government agencies with the provisions of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

ARTA initiated talks on the creation of the reporting system after the WBG discontinued its DB Report following incidents of data irregularities in 2018 and 2020.

Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, ARTA Director General, said the Philippine EODB Reporting System would help in addressing the limitations of the WBG’s DB Report.

“We do believe that by contextualizing our measurement and our surveys, we would be able to have a more responsive and more contextualized competition, not only against our neighboring countries in neighboring regions and elsewhere, but more so within our localized context between government agencies and between local government units,” he said.

He is also optimistic that the reporting system will push government agencies to improve their processes and services since incentive systems for well-performing agencies will be determined.

“A healthy competition is one of the bedrockS or is always the fundamental principle of an increasingly competitive free market,” he said.

ARTA Sec. Belgica also expressed hope that the reporting system would help government agencies sustain the good practices that they adopted because of the WBG’s DB Report and even discover new and better practices to further streamline their processes.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez congratulated ARTA for its initiative, saying that it will lead to better economic conditions in the Philippines which will be translated to more comfortable lives for the Filipino people.

“We stress the importance of our own tracking of our EODB efforts, even outside the World Bank reporting system because improvement in this area is critical and it redounds to a more comfortable life for our people,” he said.

“Hindi na sila pipila, hindi na sila mahihirapan, and this is what matters most to all of us, especially to our President,” he added.

Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Streamlining on Government Processes (OPASGP) also expressed his support for the Authority.

“Such efforts bring great hope for the future of the economy of the Philippines as we all gear towards further globalization and putting the country on the map as a progressive nation,” he said.

ARTA Undersecretary Ernesto V. Perez, Deputy Director General for Operations, said the Philippine EODB Reporting System aims to establish a baseline integrated, responsive and sustainable system of reporting that assesses, strengthens and further expands the ongoing ease of doing business reform initiatives of the government.

It also seeks to identify current ease of doing business reform initiatives of the government and assess its strengths and effects on the country.

For its pilot implementation, it will initially be anchored on the DB Report’s methodology, scoring system and assumptions; and will be supported by the PGRP, a set of guidelines and core principles on how to promote proportionate, consistent, accountable and targeted regulations through effective dialogue between regulators and regulated entities.

The 10 guidelines can be summarized into the following: clarity, legal and empirical basis, benefit-cost, assessment, engagement, coherence, whole-of-government, continuous evaluation, competition and risk management.

The pilot implementation of the Philippine EODB Reporting System will cover national government agencies and local government units that are involved in the business lifecycle.

ARTA Usec. Perez stressed that the Authority did not create the reporting system to chase high rankings, but to ensure that the people on the ground feel the ease of doing business reforms that the government agencies are implementing.

“This initiative, of course, is not only about improving our ranking. It’s all about improving the government services to the people. Kagaya po ng sinabi ng ating Pangulo, ayaw niya na mahaba ang pila, ayaw po niya na pinapahirapan natin ang taumbayan sa tuwing ito ay pupunta sa government agencies,” he said.

The JMC was crafted by members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) designated to work on the Philippine EODB Reporting System, chaired by Usec. Perez.

The group is composed of officials from the DTI, OPASGP, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Deparment of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Finance (DOF), Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the two private sector representatives from the EODB-ART Advisory Council, Peter Wallace and Allan Wong But-Loy.

They are also supported by technical consultants from the WBG and University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc.-Regulatory Support Program for National Development (UPPAF-RESPOND).

ARTA Undersecretary Carlos F. Quita, Deputy Director General for Administration, Finance, and Special Programs, called on other government agencies to continue coordinating with the Authority to improve the delivery of government servicess and the economic conditions of the country.

“Now that the Philippine Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Reporting System has been established, coupled with the guiding principles set forth in this JMC and the unwavering commitment of our partners, we are confident that our government will be able to improve the business climate in the country, encourage investment, and promote economic recovery,” he said.

“Let us continue working together, not only to ensure the attainment of the objectives we have set forth in this JMC, but also to serve the public in general in the most efficient way,” he added.