“This entire situation and experience reminds me of the great philosopher Socrates who once said that ‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new’ I must say this best describes how we are able to rise up to the challenges of this pandemic, of course, our digitization has a long way to go but we will get there,” the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) Chairman Pericles Dakay noted as they released 5,000 digitally renewed licenses out of 5,593 online submissions as of August 7, 2020.

“Working with the kind assistance and the generosity of the USAID-DELIVER Project, we are able to design an operational system for license renewal applications, which went live last June 3, 2020,” Chairman Dakay added.

Enabling the construction industry to adapt to the 'next normal' through digital payments

In a month’s time, PCAB, together with its partners and construction consultants, and with the IT and technical support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), revisited the Contractor’s License Law (RA 4566) and conducted comparative analysis and benchmarking of licensing international best practices.

As key outcomes, the PCAB Online Renewal Portal was developed, and pertinent documentary requirements were relaxed and reduced from 24 to just nine (9) digital submissions. These are done not only as a COVID 19 response, but as a move to further automate PCAB’s transactions. The initiative’s core objective is to advance the ease-of-doing-business for the construction industry that contributes about 17% of the country’s GDP based on the 2019 statistics and creates a multiplier effect in the economy particularly in job creation—one of the most crucial components of the Administration’s economic recovery plan.

“We focus on building something from scratch while forging partnerships with our companies that also aim to provide the best services possible. I am optimistic that this is just the start of better and greater things to happen and that we will continuously change via creative and innovative disruption,” said Chairman Dakay.

Improving the system, more payment options

On August 7, 2020, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with PayMaya, Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to authorize PayMaya as an additional digital collecting agent for the services of CIAP, specifically starting with the PCAB Online license renewal. With this integration with PayMaya, users will have a more convenient payment option since they will now be allowed to use credit, debit, and prepaid cards as well as their PayMaya-registered mobile number for payment.

“This is the first time that PCAB is embarking onto automating its decades old processes, and this is a learning experience for the rest of us here. We immediately convened to plan and improve payment options that is why we have engaged more partners in the process such as the Bureau of the Treasury and the PayMaya,” PCAB Executive Director Herbert E.D. Matienzo said.

Currently PCAB has 8950 registered contractors in the system that is about 59% of the estimated 15,000 PCAB-licensed contractors up for renewal by the end of July. Since the PayMaya and 7/11 ECpay channels were made available, the number of payments also increased to 5,654 from 104 renewal applications during its first week in June.

This effort is pursuant to the vision of the Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030—that is to have a construction industry equipped with efficient, modern, and digital technologies, founded on a culture of integrity, professionalism, and innovation. The 30 action items identified in the Roadmap for the Construction Industry of the Philippines (CIAP-PCAB) aim to modernize its services in compliance with Ease of Doing Business Law.

The Philippine Contractors Association (PCA), PCAB’s long-time private sector collaborator, voiced their support on this endeavor as they commit to continue working with the government in improving business transactions through online systems that harness e-commerce like PCAB’s online contractor’s license renewal portal.

“Every partnership is monumental. Our members are happy with this and challenge us to deliver even better. It is always rewarding to see how we create solutions together, as we shift from the usual or conventional to convenient way of making transactions,” PCA President Wilfredo Dacena said. “PCA will continue to work with the government to make the industry stronger. We keep looking forward to the continued partnership especially as we work together in emerging from this crisis,” he added.

Contractor’s License Renewal extended until September 2020

PCAB still encourages contractors to renew using the PCAB Online Renewal Portal even until the end of September 2020 without any penalty. However, it should be noted that those who fail to accomplish their renewal will not be given a license to continue operating until they complete the renewal process.

“We also thank REID Foundation, who’s always with us in crafting our construction industry roadmap. PCAB would like to also acknowledge that the fast pace of the development of the portal would not have been possible without the collaborative dialogue with private sector partners, most especially, the Philippine Constructors Association (PCA),” PCAB Executive Director Matienzo said.

More e-payment options will be made available soon for faster and more convenient transactions as PCAB and USAID continue working to improve the system and collaborate for the future automations of other transactions such as new applications for license, upgrading of license category, and consortium and joint venture applications.

CIAP is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry. ♦

Date of Release: 17 August 2020