Message of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
6th Regional Competitiveness Summit
16 August 2018, PICC, Pasay City
To honorable mayors, governors from around the country, isa pong mainit na pagbati sa inyong lahat. Good morning!
To our favorite Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business dahil isa lang po siya, Usec. Rowel Barba. And to our DTI family, Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, former DTI Secretary Che Cristobal. New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan. And all our partners and distinguished guests, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.
Every time we conduct this competitiveness summit, we’re always excited. Because this is really the anchor of all our efforts to invite investments into the country and really asking them to help in regional development—regional progress.
And you know what, I will start by saying the many investors that we invite, of course, they would pay courtesy calls to the national government, pay attention to the results of this survey to help guide them on where to invest in the Philippines.


Normally they’ve already decided to come in the Philippines to invest. But selecting the site, where to locate, is the next question.

If I were the regional, provincial, city, and municipality official, it is important for them to fare very well because chances are these competitiveness indices are being referred to by investors, especially those not familiar with regional conditions.
To us this is really a good indication for them to tell them where to invest their capital. While we want them to achieve development in their respective areas, we really have to do something with respect to that. We have to create ease of doing business, good infrastructure, so on and so forth.
In the end, it will really help us invite investors to our areas. If they come in, they will bring more jobs and prosperity. And with more prosperity, come more economic activities and attracting more investing. So the virtuous cycle will start.
More investors coming in higher property prices. Of course higher property prices, many of us will benefit from that. Higher property prices, higher revenue for all of you. More importantly, poverty incidence will go down. We see this in many cases. Many provinces, cities, municipalities who have attracted investments have reduced poverty indices in their areas. So many good stories.
To the winners here, I hope you serve as inspiration for others to really do their best in improving the business climate in their respective areas.
So I guess my time is up? Nag-bell na yung sa likod. Pero magsisimula pa lang po tayo. Let me begin, hindi ako presidente kaya kailangan ko pong basahin ‘yung speech. Maganda ‘yung ginagawa ni Presidente. He would read the last paragraph. That says it all. Kaya hintayin niyo po ‘yung last paragraph.
As we recognize the most competitive cities, municipalities, and provinces, let me congratulate the winners of the 6th Regional Competitiveness Summit. These are the winners that exhibited remarkable feats in advancing the competitiveness of their respective localities.
PRRD 3rd SONA Marching Orders
Even as we celebrate the achievements of our Local Government Units (LGUs), we also need to heed the call on what needs to be done to improve ease of doing business in our country.
All of us heard loud and clear President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s pronouncement during the Third State of the Nation address to faithfully implement Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business Law. Our President further called the attention of agencies with red tape-related reports from the public to make their services truly customer-friendly.
Our people deserve an efficient, effective, and responsive government service. That’s why I must reiterate the President’s call to our LGUs: we must start streamlining our business permits and licensing procedures as mandated by the RA 11032. I must tell you, so many exciting things happening here. Maibabalita po sa inyo yan in a while.
Aside from streamlining, we must also start adopting GovTech (or government technology) in our processes, by automating the manual procedures. So first, we streamline and then we automate. These cover procedures from filing, processing, to payment. Kapag ganyan kadali mag-register sa inyong lugar, siguradong mag-uunahan ang mga investors sa inyong lugar.
Ease of Doing Business and Competitiveness
One way we can improve our procedures is through globally-accepted tools that can help us identify issues and obstacles. In the case of the Philippines, the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) was developed using the competitiveness framework by Michael Porter, which is also used in global competitiveness surveys.
Porter’s definition of competitiveness is based on the idea of productivity. Putting it in the CMCI perspective, local competitiveness is how a city or municipality knows its resources and how it uses these to improve its standard of living.
Two of the CMCI’s indicators, the Business Registration Efficiency, and Compliance to BPLS standards, focus on ease of doing business. Tweaking these indicators could mean a lot for an LGU’s competitiveness score.
This will also impact other indicators, such as the size and growth of the local economy—which are determined through business registrations, capital revenue and permits. Ibig sabihin, kapag mas madali na ‘yon, mas maraming magreregister na negosyo. Likewise, it will also affect the capacity to generate employment and the cost of doing business.
I am thankful to the CMCI because now we have established that there were 1,853,978 approved business registrations nationwide in 2017, more than double than the 2016 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Matagal ko na pong naririnig na 900,000+ ang registered businesses. Now we are seeing 1.8 million. Palakpakan po natin, tayo pong lahat ‘yun.
Out of the total approved permits, 377,725 were new business applications while 1,476,253 were business renewals.  Also through the CMCI, we are able to populate the Philippine Business Registry Databank, with a list of 780,238 businesses as of the 1st quarter of 2018.
Having said this, I encourage all LGUs to build their competitiveness through reforms. You can start by streamlining your procedures and aligning with the EODB law, as well as implementing GovTech to achieve seamless and efficient delivery of government service.
Actually, as we go around, we encounter a lot of success stories. We must credit many LGUs who have achieved improvements like business registration within 30 minutes. Talagang they made it very convenient. They are also exercising automation after they streamlined their businesses. For all of you who did that, you deserve a big round of applause.
Project One: One Form, One Number, One Portal
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has already started its own GovTech journey via the implementation of the Project One: One Form, One Number, One Portal. This project aims to develop innovative systems that will drastically streamline the business registration process from end to end. It will also provide a more pleasant business customer experience that is easy, and not confusing nor cumbersome.
Ang aming pong sinasabi, parang lang kayong nagbu-book ng movie ticket. You fill out, you pay, and you print. In our case, maraming dinadaanan: DTI, SEC, Philhealth, Mayor’s Office, etc. Ang idea ay, ano ng aba yung mga critical and common information that we should keep. And we should put that in one form and share with all of us. Ire-replicate lang po yung one form and send to all. Pagbayad, isang bayaran na lang. It’s just a matter of allocating this and remitting to the different agencies. Napaka-simple lang naman. And knowing the Filipinos, kakayanin natin ‘to.
But even if we improved our World Competitiveness scores last year, other countries made greater improvements. That’s why our rankings slipped. Kaya po ang kailangan natin ay leapfrogging. Maraming frogs. Maraming palaka ang kailangan. At zero-budget type. Total zero naman ang budget natin. Zero budget type na ano talaga ang kailangan. At kapag nag-leapfrog tayo sa score, yung goal natin na top 20% by 2020, or by 2021, ma-achieve natin.
Project One promotes bureaucratic singularity, parang isang gobyerno na lang, through a whole-of-government approach and addresses governance concern on data sharing, data accuracy, access to data, and privacy issues.
This project shall develop three outputs using Design Sprint, which is facilitated by CreativeHQ. Design Sprint is a 5-day highly-innovative problem-solving process that engages experts from the government, business, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors to come up with a solution.
Currently, we are tapping the assistance of the young and creative startup community in developing prototypes under Project One. Mr. Stefan Korn, CEO of CreativeHQ is joining us today to present the first output of Project One, a work in progress, I must say. Hindi pa ito yung final. This is an online portal containing useful information on the business registration process in local government units (LGUs).
This project aims to address the absence of a single source of information for transacting at the local level, a concern that restrains businesses from doing business in the country. This is a sort of “Wikipedia” of LGU-related business permitting information. A business or an investor can search and compare doing business information of LGUs, such as step-by-step procedures for business registration, documentary requirements, and the cost of registration and other applicable fees in LGUs.
I urge all LGUs to join us in transforming this portal into a useful tool for our businesses, by sharing your business permitting procedures and other relevant databases with us.
After the online portal, we intend to develop a framework for the One Philippine Business Number, which shall address the difficulties of getting business registration numbers from different government offices. The Unique Business Number will offer a more efficient way of dealing with various government agencies, even as it eliminates redundancies and confusion in the process.
The last of the three outputs is the end-to-end registration process. The team shall develop a mobile app that will serve as an all-in-one tool for business registration. So ‘yung ating one portal and one application, it will just be on our smartphones. Business registration is presently done on-site, by going to frontline offices, or through online, which involves many websites.
This can be solved by the end-to-end registration process which can be done by filling up a single form through the web—and ideally with a smartphone. This is our ultimate goal: that setting up a business can be as easy as buying a movie ticket on your phone.


GovTech as Driver of Competitiveness

Speaking of GovTech, we are pleased to note that the Philippines improved its ranking in the eParticipation Index, leaping 48 notches to 19th place. Palakpakan naman natin ang GovTech. The eParticipation Index is a component of the 2018 UN eGovernment Survey that measures an economy’s effort to establish online tools on government portals to promote public participation via public consultation and decision-making process.
Even though we slipped four notches to 75th place in the other component, which is the e-Government Development Index, the Philippines still managed to increase its scores in two of three sub-components. These are the Online Service Index (OSI) and the Human Capital Index (HCI). Unfortunately, we declined in the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII).
It is by adopting GovTech that we can sustain the gains or even accelerate in the UN eGov Survey.
Likewise, I fervently hope we can see a similar improvement in the Doing Business Survey, in which we are targeting to land in the top 20% of the survey by the year 2020. I know this is going to be a stretch target, but with the speedy implementation of the provisions of the EODB law and the automation of government processes, this shall be realistic and attainable for us.
Closing: A Challenge to LGUs
In closing, I want to say that as stewards of local governance, I challenge all our local chief executives to reinvent the ways of delivering government service. Kapag happy ang investor, pabalik-balik yan at magre-refer pa ng iba. Parang business ‘yan na may suki.
We need to shift our mindset, from being regulatory-focused to becoming customer-focused. We should do things with E.A.S.E: Efficient and fast government service that is Automated or can be accessed electronically, anytime, anywhere making it convenient. These services will be Seamless, brought by interconnectivity and coordination, and Economical, which costs less for the Filipino citizens and businesses.
Furthermore, I urge all the LGUs to level up the competitiveness of your localities, so that you can attract more investments and create more jobs for Filipino people. All these efforts are leading us into the right direction, towards what our President envisions: a prosperous Philippines where our people can enjoy a better quality of life.
Mabuhay and once again, congratulations to our most competitive LGUs!