Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!

Today, we take an important step in support of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act or Republic Act 11032, which is aimed to reduce red tape and create a better regulatory and business environment for the country.

First of all, I wish to congratulate the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) for organizing the oversight agencies, private sector representatives, and development partners in preparing this Joint Memorandum Circular on the Guidelines for the Establishment of the Philippine EODB Reporting System. This highlights the importance of adopting a whole-of-nation approach to achieve our goal, particularly in establishing our very own localized version of World Bank’s Doing Business Report.

Again, we stress the importance of our own tracking of our EODB efforts even outside the World Bank Reporting System because improvement in this area is critical and it redounds to a more comfortable life for our people. Hindi na sila pipila. Hindi na sila mahihirapan. And that is what matters most.

With this initiative, ARTA has clearly connected regulatory environment with economic outcomes. By having a system in place for regulatory review, assessment and monitoring, the quality and effectiveness of government reforms that affect business operations can be evaluated more accurately. It will help us identify reform successes and areas for improvement. Through this initiative, we can expect better business regulations unriddled with red tape in a sound regulatory environment. More than that, it will inspire in us a mindset for continuous reforms to spur business activity—reforms that keep in step with advances in technology and innovation.

As the team starts its work, let me suggest some areas that should be kept in mind:

First, it is important to have a framework for the indicator system, particularly one that will support a Sustainable Business Policy Index. Such a framework shall stress social and environmental sustainability, which is not new since the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), which the DTI is managing, recently added a fifth pillar on resiliency.

Secondly, there is a need to measure impact. Beyond measuring steps, processing time and cost, the reporting system may include impact indicators. For starting a business, for instance, indicators on the increase in the number of business registrations because of reforms may be included.

Thirdly, simplify data collection procedures. Given time constraints, the team may wish to consider simple and practical data collection methodology and harness existing surveys and monitoring projects by the agencies.

And lastly, the need for third party validation. The private sector members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) as well as other private sector organizations may be tapped to identify priority areas as well as participate in the surveys that will be developed as part of the reporting system.

Developing a local EODB Reporting System is a major endeavor that would require the cooperation, skills and time of various agencies. There are many benefits to having this system. I enjoin ARTA and the TWG to fast-track the development and implementation of the localized EODB Reporting System so that initial findings can be released ideally before June this year.

As we heed the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to reduce the time required for transacting with public offices, we bear in mind that we are promoting our nation’s competitiveness and enhancing our business climate and, together, we contribute to our country’s recovery from the pandemic.

I encourage our friends and colleagues in the government to continuously improve their processes to promote doing business in the Philippines and, as we at DTI say, Make it Happen in the Philippines.

Congratulations and more power to ARTA and the members of the TWG.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 7 February 2022