Philippines Business Data Bank launched by DOF, DICT and DILG to streamline application and renewal of business permits

Earlier this month, the Philippines Department of Finance (DOF), along with the Departments of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG) launched a digital platform that aims to streamline the application and renewal of business permits through online sharing of information by government agencies involved in the process. The system was developed by a team from the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The system will be managed by the DICT. 

The Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB) will also involve the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which chairs the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s economic zones and over 1,600 local government units (LGUs). 

Information shared in the PBDB system covers data that businesses have already made public, as contained in their respective business permits, which are required to be displayed in a conspicuous area in their place of business.

The information in the PBDB database will initially be provided by the DTI, SEC, the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) and the LGUs, starting with Quezon City. In the future, the PBDB will include business data of economic locators in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the other ecozones across the country. 

Through the PBDB, government agencies would be able to verify the existence of a business entity using a single reference document. The PBDB would also allow the public to verify the existence of a specific business entity. The system will provide the information by accessing data from various sources. 

According to the DICT, the verification of a specific business entity is limited to exact name searches, to prevents users from resorting to random searches for phishing.

Finance Undersecretary, Gil Beltran, said that the launching of the PBDB system is among the initiatives of the DOF, as lead agency of the government’s anti-red tape program (ARTA) to improve the ease of doing business in the country. 

In August this year, the Philippines Senate approved the Expanded Anti-Red Tape Act of 2017 which seeks to reduce and simplify the requirements for starting and operating businesses in the country. Under the Act, Cities/municipalities are required to automate their business permitting and licensing system (BPLS) or set up an electronic-Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) within one year for more efficient business registration, as far as practicable.

“With the PBDB, government agencies can readily access data on a particular business, eliminating the need for business owners to bring numerous documentary requirements when transacting with the government,” Mr. Beltran said. 

“The PBDB’s web-based application can be accessed via the National Government Portal,” the DICT said. (The National Government Portal is intended to provide a single point of access for all government information, transactions and services.)

Besides the PBDB, the DOF said it was harnessing the power of digital technology to implement two other major initiatives in improving the ease of doing business in the country.  

These are the TradeNet platform for traders and a parallel modernisation initiative in the DOF and the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC). 

DOF’s technology modernisation architect, Dr. Dennis Reyes, said the TradeNet platform, which will also serve as the Philippines’ link to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window gateway, will be up and running by the end of 2017 and will later place onboard a total of 66 government agencies “progressively over the course of the next two to three years.”  

Beltran has said that  will allow traders to use the system to apply for import and export permits initially for rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and cured tobacco. It is expected to shorten the processing time of import/export clearances, reduce the number of transactions and required documents to be submitted, and remove bureaucratic red-tape.

Featured image: Jonnhydejesus (source: CC BY-SA 4.0

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