June 25, 2019, PICC, Pasay City
[As delivered]


Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

Thank you all for being here tonight. As the Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Chairman of the ARTA Advisory Council, I am certainly proud to be in the company of reform-oriented individuals. Together, we’ve been working hard in the past years towards making our country more competitive.

Looking around the room, we have the movers and shakers from both government and the private sector who took action in making doing business easier. Yes we have accomplished some things but really there’s long way to go and were exerting all efforts in making sure that we can have a better ranking this time around this year in 2019.

And I am very very happy to, I’m preempting my speech because I’m just excited because that all these reforms that we’ve done. This year were submitting 43 reforms. Hopefully all will be credited by the World Bank IFC.

As you know what happen last year, we have a big issue, we file a protest there’s an indicator that was not I guess even the proper score and therefore our rank dropped. And we were not accepting that rank. Actually, it’s still under protest. And we made that public we filed into the World Bank IFC, they recognize their mistake but they’re not about to change the ranking.

They said that lets go on with this year’s survey and let’s proceed with the correction on the indicator all we as all the other reforms of the other indicators. Hopefully, we can have a score better than we had achieved. I think 3 years ago or 4 years ago. So hopefully, we will see that ranking really will improve in October, so mag eembargo muna kami so titignan naming kung talagang lumaki. And I’ll bet Usec. Rowel’s salary that it will improve. Our ranking will improve noh.

So in push for ease of doing business, In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte promised that his administration would be run on a platform of Tapang at Malasakit. That is, this government would not only be tough on security issues, it would be more responsive to the needs of our people.

This platform was embedded in the President’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda that he announced during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). Among the priority points of the Agenda was the need to increase the competitiveness and ease of doing business in the country.

This is because we believe the government should be the prime enabler for business. This means creating the right business environment, attracting investments to improve domestic capacities and generate jobs, and making our industries innovative and competitive.

More importantly, we’re committed to promote Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), thanks again to Senator Migz, our biggest supporter of MSMEs in the Senate, so that all Filipinos—especially those in the countryside—can be empowered to set up their own business.

The President formalized this aspect of the Agenda when he signed on May 28 last year Republic Act (RA) No. 11032, or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.” At nandito po ang Ama ng Ease Doing Business Law. Next to President Duterte, sila po ang masasabi nating the Father of Ease of Doing Business at ngayon po ay masasabi ring the Father of the Anti-Red Tape Authority. This is better known as the Ease of Doing Business Law.

The rationale behind the EODB Law is that it pushes for the following in government procedures and processes. These are: The efficient turn-around and adoption of simplified requirements and automation if I may add. Expediting business and non-business related transaction remember the two strike policy. Talagang mauubos ang empleyado sa gobyerno ‘pag may two-strike policy. First strike, suspended. Second strike, di lang suspended—termination. Wala pang retirement pay, makukulong pa at may penalty pa—so talagang marahas. And then promoting investor confidence as well as e-government system. At ito pong marahas na pag-iimplement ay ibinibigay po natin sa ARTA, Deputy Director General Nes Perez. Maging marahas pero risonable.

The EODB Law also created the Ease of Doing Business/ Anti Red Tape Advisory Council (EODB/ ARTA Council), as well as ARTA, the Anti-Red Tape Authority. I guess the good news is that meron po kaming isang ni-recommend na magiging Director General na mismo kasi alam nyo naman ang employee number one ngayon ay si DDG Nes Perez galing po sa Department of Trade and Industry siya, former Assistant Secretary at magkakaron na rin hopefully, in the next few days announcement po ng bagong Director General. Meron po kaming nirecommend na bagong pangalan di ko po pwedeng iaannounce baka dahil di pa napipirmahan at mahirap na mapasubo.


In the wake of all the work we’ve done, we decided to host this “Gabi ng Parangal” to show DTI’s appreciation for our partners both in government and in the private sector. Ito po ay idea nila Usec. Rowel at Assistant Jean Pacheco at kanyang team para talagang mabigyan ng parangal kayo pong aming mga kapartners dito po sa larangan ng pagbabago towards Ease of Doing Business.

Specifically, DTI wanted to pay tribute to the concept of the whole-of-government approach. We are particularly proud of the laws enacted by Congress that would benefit the country’s competitiveness ranking. We are also equally thankful for the swift action by the Supreme Court when we made representations on what reforms would create an impact.

Of course, we could not have done these without the support of the President himself and the Executive Branch. Likewise, we are grateful of the contributions from the many agencies involved in the many aspects of the business process, like Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, and Registering Property, to name a few.

We are particularly grateful to the Quezon City local government kahit pinapasa na ninyo ang pagiging leading agency in the survey. Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa inyo dahil ang dami po ninyong naitulong sa cooperation of all levels of the LGU that really really tremendous. And syempre pinapasalamatan po natin kanina ang Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista. For the past years Quezon City has been living in a fishbowl, with all eyes—including the World Bank—focusing on this representative city of the Doing Business (DB) survey.

Before the term of Mayor Bistek ends, we would like to thank him and his team for their heroic service in promoting ease of doing business and serving as an example for all of us. Isa pong maganda at malakas na palakpakan.


While the EODB Law is our flagship law to promote ease of doing business, we’ve implemented reforms in our drive to improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s DB survey.

Among the ASEAN economies, the Philippines has ranked 7th in the DB Report for the past 3 years, besting only Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Meanwhile, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have made it to the top 20% of countries included in the report. This is our target: to be in the top 20%.

From 148 out of 183 countries in 2010, the Philippines’ ranking in the DB Report rose 24 notches to 124 out of 190 in 2018. Di nag rose to’ actually nag worsen yata tayo dito in 2018. But, I’m preempting the talk.

From 2019 report, we improved on 7 out of 10 of the indicators so ito na ‘yung last year nag improve tayo. We remained the same in 2; and significantly suffered on 1 indicator, and that is the Getting Credit kung saan tayo nag-protest. While we contested that last indicator with the World Bank, we’ve also submitted a number of data corrections for the DB2020 survey it’s happening this year but it’s called 2020 survey lalabas po ‘yan sa end of October.

For this year, DTI has been continuing its chairmanship of the EODB Task Force and steering the implementation of our DB2020 Strategy. The strategy is two-pronged: (1) we need to pursue reforms with key agencies involved in the life cycle of a business; and (2) we need to implement a communication campaign targeting the respondents of the World Bank survey.

So this time around for the first time talagang aside from meeting all the government agency partners as well as the judiciary and even the private sectors we also went to see the respondents so at least try to reach out to them to explain all the reforms that are happening.

Because what we have observed, first sometimes the bank also asking the wrong person – the wrong respondent. In other words, they are not the one experiencing the reforms. And then worst is that minsan pinapalakad lang sa fixer and unfortunately sila ang sumasagot so they are not giving the right answer so that’s the problem.

Second, minsan there are reforms made but simply they are not aware so they are not naming or they not asking just like the story of I think Senator Migz kanina noh na di nila alam na may Citizen’s Charter na dapat na nakaspecify the list of items/documents to be submitted. And that once you submit all those documents, there no reason not to accept the document and pag nagdagdag kayo, it’s a violation. So di na pwede ‘yung everytime you go there ah may kulang pa. You submit again the document ah may kulang pa. Malinaw na may Citizen’s Charter dapat. Unfortunately I think we still need to do a lot of information awareness—information campaign. We will do that with ARTA from DTI we can help with that. To communicate better all the reforms being made.

We are optimistic as well as that the 2020 cycle will improve our country’s standing because of the strong inter-agency collaboration and greater engagement with private sector respondents.

During the visit of the World Bank Team last May, DTI highlighted the whole-of-government approach and increased private-public sector partnership. We presented to them the reforms instituted by the three branches of government that we expect will further improve our country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business ranking.

Overall, as mentioned we submitted 43 reforms and 10 data correction request to the World Bank, covering 9 out of 10 topics covering the life cycle of a business. We expect the DB2020 Report to be released this October.


Tonight, we also want to show our appreciation to the private sector, particularly the members of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). This journey has been eventful.

This began in 2006, when President Gloria Arroyo created the Public-Private Task Force on Philippine Competitiveness. In 2011, President Aquino created the NCC. The NCC now sees its reinvention under RA 11032 with the creation of the EODB/ARTA Council.

On the positive side, we saw improvements throughout the years in the Global Competitiveness Report Card initiated by the NCC back then. These include the Economic Freedom Index, the Corruption Perceptions Index, the Global Enabling Trading Index, and the eGovernment Index.

And by the way, we have a lot of programs now on eGovernment and even starting a business, I mentioned in previous gatherings that we are attempting to do a business— all in smartphone especially for I guess the low risk business connecting the SEC, BIR, the LGUs, the Philhealth, Pag-ibig, SSS–all in. And allowing everyone to register in business right maybe on the smartphone with the assessment the place and the printing of the business for Mayor’s permit so up to that point. So hopefully in one hour, uploading all the documents that is really required.

So it’s really a eGovernment project that we are undertaking. We have benefited three Design Sprint workshops. And I tell you I experienced the prototype. They are now doing the beta format. In other words, DICT is now doing the real beta format that will be used eventually.

So pag natapos po natin ‘yung of course with the help of SEC. SEC has already improve on their system they are affected as well know and the number of people working to registration so I got a feedback earlier that the things are improving so mabilis na ang processing. And we want to see that we really move faster and hopefully investment with automation or eGovernment project.

The legacy of the NCC lives on with the DTI-Competitiveness Bureau, which is now working with the logistics services sector to improve our Logistics Performance Index. This index has dropped 16 notches from 44 out of 155 to 60 out of 160.

But more importantly, DTI is pushing for “game-changers” that will enable enterprises to become more competitive and the country to attract more investors, both local and foreign. Our target is to make the Philippines future-ready.


Moving forward, our plan is to continue our whole-of-government approach.

With the enactment of RA 11032, DTI is set to turn over responsibility to the newly-established ARTA, which now has the power and mandate for the following: To Implement and oversee a national policy on anti-red tape and EODB; and Implement various EODB and anti-red tape reform initiatives at improving the ranking of the Philippines. So this coordination in various public and private agency, ARTA will now be taking the lead but DTI — the Competitiveness Bureau will definitely still be supporting the effort.

After our full court press on the DB 2020 strategy, we shall now pass the baton to ARTA to continue what we’ve all started. But we ask all of you here today to extend the same passion and sense of duty that you have extended to DTI in the past years.

We thank the team from the International Finance Corporation (IFC)—most especially Ida, Ofie, and Atty. Lynn Barcenas—for the working hours spent with our government agencies. We are confident that your assistance to ARTA will bear more positive results.

With the new ARTA team and the new QC team, we look forward to see smarter and bolder reforms.


In closing, tonight is about appreciation, gratitude, and recognition.

On behalf of DTI, we’d like to reiterate our thanks to everyone here: the legislature; the judiciary; our colleagues from the Executive Branch; the Quezon City LGU; the private sector (particularly the NCC); and our development partner, the IFC.

Your continued support to improve ease of doing business and competitiveness in the country will help create a better business environment. This would lead to more investments and more jobs and employment, which would create a better life for our Filipino brothers and sisters.

This is because for every job that we generate for our people, that’s one Filipino family whose quality of life will be improved. Under the Duterte administration, this is the realization of true inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity for all, as well as the President’s promise of Tapang at Malasakit.

Marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat, mga kapwa kawal ng pagbabago at mabuhay tayong lahat.