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Town implements ‘no contact’ policy

A town in Davao del Norte has implemented a “no contact policy” in the registration and renewal of business permits through the establishment of a business one-stop shop (BOSS).

A statement released Monday quoted Mayor Ernesto T. Evangelista of Sto. Tomas town saying that he wants “a `no contact policy to be observed” in the registration and renewal of business permits, not only as compliance to Republic Act 11032, the Ease of Doing Business Act, but also “to the Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 that requires local government units to set up BOSS to serve as a common place to receive and process applications for licenses and other permits.”

A “no contact policy” means that there will be no human interaction between the applicants and the employees processing their applications as documents will only be submitted and the applicants will just have to wait at the end of the processes for the approved permits.

The goal, the statement added, is to eliminate red tape as well as reduce the processing time from a week to just a day as the municipal government expected to process about 2,000 applications between January 2 and January 20.

Ana Jane C. Gatillo, head of the Business Permits and Licenses Office, said registration and renewal of business permits and licenses will be completed in a day for as long as applications are able to complete the requirements.

“Under the Ease of Doing Business law, business permits applicants have to process their documents in three steps: ‘File, Pay and Claim,’” she said, adding that the one-stop shop is a facility necessary for the municipal government should it could comply with the Anti-Red Tape Act.

”We believe that it is high time that we prioritize measures that will make public service more effective, efficient, and pro-people,” she added.

Earlier, Trade and Industry Regional Director Ma. Belenda Q. Ambi called on local government units (LGUs) to institute reforms in their business processes to ensure that they comply with the laws.

Ambi also urged LGUs to adopt the use of modern technology like computerization to ensure faster and seamless transaction “as well as eliminate possible red tape in the processing” as applications and payments can be done online.

However, Ambi noted that one big challenge in adopting technology is the lack or absence of Internet connectivity in the towns. “We really need a better connectivity if we want this to happen,” she told Mindanao Times last month during the annual presentation of the agency for its achievements.

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