13 April 2021 – All Local Government Units (LGUs) are now mandated to set up an electronic Business One-Stop Shop (eBoss) following the issuance of a Joint Memorandum Circular by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and three other key agencies.

On Tuesday, 13 April 2021, ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica spearheaded the ceremonial signing of JMC No. 01 s. 2021, which establishes the guidelines for processing business permits, related clearances, and licenses in all cities and municipalities. He was joined by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who is concurrently the chairperson of the Ease of Doing Business – Anti-Red Tape (EODB-ART) Advisory Council, Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Jr.—all co-signatories in the landmark document.

With the JMC, the LGUs have until 17 June 2021 to put up an eBoss or automate their Business Processing and Licensing Systems (BPLS) with functionalities such as online submission of business permit applications, digital payment options, and issuance of electronic versions of permits, licenses, or clearances. This aims to lessen people-to-people contact and promote strict observance of health protocols amid the pandemic.

“In their transition to the fully automated business registration system or eBoss, LGUs are encouraged to adopt a partly manual and partly electronic/online system that will reduce the number of steps for processing business permits to less than 4,” the JMC stated.

The JMC also standardizes the documentary requirements, steps, and processing time related to business registration.

One example is the creation of Unified Application Form (UAF) of LGUs to serve as the application form for the “Business Permit, the Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate (FSIC) for business, the Locational Clearance or its equivalent, the Sanitary Permit and the Environmental Permit (if required).”

Another is the cutting down of the number of signatories on permits.

“[T]he Business Permit and related ancillary permits such as but not limited to the Locational Clearance, Sanitary Permit, the Barangay Business Clearance and the Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate for business shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) signatures representing the officers directly supervising the office/department concerned responsible for the permit/clearance,” the memorandum circular stated.

But apart from this, ARTA is set to ink two more joint memoranda with its partner agencies.

The succeeding circular titled “Omnibus Guidelines on the Suspension of LGU Imposition and Collection of Illegal Fees and Taxes Relative to the transport of Goods and Products” addresses the complaints received by the DILG “that some local governments still charge fees, taxes and charges on the transportation of goods and products carried into or out of, or passing through the territorial jurisdictions of these LGUs in the guise of sticker fee, discharging fee, delivery fee, market fee, toll fee and/or mayor’s permit fee, among others.”

The circular mandates concerned personnel and agencies to “refrain from enforcing any existing ordinance authorizing the levy of fees and taxes on inter-province transport of goods or merchandise, regulatory fees in local ports, and other additional taxes, fees or charges in any form upon the transport of goods or merchandise.”

The signing for the said document is scheduled on Friday, 16 April 2021. 

Lastly, a supplemental to JMC No. 1 s. 2020 will also be executed later this month “to harmonize the provisions of Republic Act 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” and the guidelines for the shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure from the mentioned memorandum.

Earlier this year, the country had seen recent improvement in its internet speed ranking after JMC No. 01 s. 2020 significantly shortened the processing time of telco permit and licenses from eight months to just 16 days. It also downsized documentary requirements from 86 to 35 and reduced 13 permits to eight.