20 August 2020 – The Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council yesterday convened in a virtual meeting headed by Council Chairperson Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Vice-Chairperson Anti-Red Tape Authority chief Jeremiah Belgica.

The Council approved the formation of Task Force E-governance which shall be composed of representatives from ARTA, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Finance. The task force will also be inviting representatives from Department of Budget Management to be part of it. The task force shall aim to implement an online end-to-end business registry with One Form, One Number, One Portal.

“Even prior to this pandemic, the Council had always seen full streamlining and automation of services as key towards the continuous improvement of our performance in Ease of Doing Business, particularly in starting a business. Our current situation further heightened the urgency for it now. We need to adapt our efforts to our evolved needs in this ‘new normal’, hence the formation of Task Force E-governance”, Director General Belgica said.

The ARTA chief also provided the Council with the updates on the streamlined procedure on the permit processing for the construction of shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure with the recent issuance of a Joint Memorandum Circular with other involved agencies. ARTA had since declared the automatic approval of a total of 115 applications of telecommunication companies for the installation and operation of telecommunication broadcast towers, facilities, equipment, and service, and had ordered concerned Local Government Units to release the corresponding permits to said applications.

As of writing, ARTA is working on a new set of Compliance Orders that will be sent out to LGUs in the following days.

Further, the Council had approved the Guidelines on the Issuance and/or Reinstitution of Permits and Licenses under the “New Normal” which will be issued soon. The set of guidelines aim to provide simplified, streamlined, and automated standards, measures and procedures to be adopted by all covered agencies in delivering efficient and hazard-free government services under the “new normal”. It aims to ensure that regulatory procedures and requirements do not unnecessarily constrain businesses in continuing to engage in productive economic activities; and to increase the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of government agencies to support business activities in the country.

Also present in yesterday’s meeting were DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, private sector representative Mr. Peter Wallace, Department of Finance Director Angelica Sarmiento, resource person Mr. Guillermo “Bill” Luz, and ARTA Deputy Director Generals, Ernesto Perez and Eduardo Bringas.