14 January 2022 – Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) called on local government units to extend the period of renewal of business permits and payment of real property tax until the end of the first quarter of the year.

This, amid the surging number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines the past few days due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“This is a time for us to approach situations with more compassion and sensitivity. With record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases being announced almost every day, we at ARTA believe it is only right to extend the period of renewal of business permits,” he said.

“Public health should be the government’s topmost priority right now. People traveling to city halls to renew their business permits and pay their real property tax would not help in curbing the spread of the virus,” he added.

The period of renewal of business permits is from 3 to 20 January. Local chief executives have the power to extend this period.

Earlier, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Antique also issued a provincial memorandum urging local chief executives of the province’s 18 municipalities to extend the payment of regular fees and charges without surcharges or penalties and to provide other possible assistance for businesses.

In line with this, ARTA Sec. Belgica also reminded LGUs to fully automate their business permitting and licensing systems in compliance with Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

“We are again calling on the LGUs to set up their electronic business one-stop shops. Doing so will allow both the public and government employees to conduct their business-related transactions in a safe, contactless, and convenient way, which is ideal especially during this pandemic,” he said.

On 22 November 2021, the Palace issued Memorandum Circular No. 57, directing all local chief executives to submit their progress reports to ARTA and DILG with regard to their electronic business one-stop-shop (eBOSS) compliance.

The Authority has been coordinating with LGU leagues such as the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and League of Provinces of the Philippines to ensure the LGUs’ compliance with the ease of doing business law.