ARTA looks into the business registration and renewal process at Antipolo BOSS

15 January 2021 – Following several complaints received from concerned citizens regarding the business registration and renewal process at the Antipolo City, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), together with the Bureau of Local Government Development of the Department of Interior and Local Government, conducted a surprise inspection of said LGU’s Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS) yesterday.

Last Wednesday, ARTA received some reports of alarmingly long queues of applicants at the Antipolo BOSS. The ARTA team had confirmed this yesterday on its spot visit and had also verified the lack of a queueing system through its interviews with some applicants in line outside the establishment.

“Ang sabi nga nila samin, chance lang kasi nga hanggang tatlong daan lang. Wala hong numerong ibinigay. Ang sabi ko nga, nakikiusap ako sa kanila na kaming nakatayo, baka pwedeng bigyan na kami ng numero pagkatapos kung kailan kami pwedeng bumalik para don na lang kami bumalik. Ang sabi naman nila, hindi daw pwede”, one of the applicants said to ARTA.

According to Antipolo’s Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) Head, the BOSS could only accommodate an average of 300 applicants per day and have been accepting applicants until 3 p.m. only.

Due to this quota system and the lack of a queuing system in effect, the ARTA inspection team had talked to applicants who reported to have lined up as early as 1 in the morning; some even reported to have camped out at the location or have been returning for days already in the hopes of being accommodated.

In order to address such problems, the BPLO Head explained that the applicants have the liberty to register and renew their business online through their electronic Business One-Stop Shop. Some applicants onsite, however, reported that the system is inaccessible, which was also verified to be true, at least at the time of inspection, by the ARTA team.

The ARTA Team, nonetheless, commends the LGU’s compliance with the use of a unified business application form, the non-requirement of notarizations (in compliance to ARTA’s Memorandum Circular), and the integration of the Fire Inspection Fee and the Barangay Inspection Fee in the payment scheme at the BOSS.

“If you would look inside, makikita mo na may effort na.. yung sistema gustong ipatupad. Umiikot yung papel, hindi yung tao. Siguro yun lang no para hindi nakapila yung mga tao mula ala-una ng umaga. Medyo nagrereklamo talaga yung iba. But I think mareresolba nila yan”, Director General Jeremiah Belgica said.

To address the high volume of people, Director General Belgica recommended that the LGU should set up kiosks outside to encourage and allow the applicants lined up to carry out their transactions online. “It’s really challenging kasi nasa transition phase ang Antipolo but it was explained to us na meron na silang automation of initiatives. Kung kaya itong gagawin ho dito siguro to solve yung number of people dito sa labas, ang ating suggestion ay maglagay ng mga kiosks na dito. Para malaman na rin ng mga tao”, the ARTA chief said.

He also recommended the setting up of tables outside for the pre-evaluation of the requirements of those who would still prefer to transact manually. Further, he advised the LGU to extend the deadline of business renewal, as done by other Metro Manila LGUs visited by ARTA.

According to Director General Belgica, “We have to address also yung sa queuing and at the same time, yung quota system kasi sa batas nga kinakailangan basta nandun ka sa loob dapat tanggapin kayo. So that’s the thing that we are resolving right now”.

Under Section 21 (f) of Republic Act 11032, “failure to attend to applicants or requesting parties who are within the premises of the office or agency concerned prior to the end of official working hours and during lunch break” constitutes for a violation of the law.

Director General Belgica also discussed ARTA’s recommendations to Antipolo City Mayor Andrea Ynares, who committed to improving the LGU’s existing systems.