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Philippine city government adds tax payment feature to online platform

The new vision of local government units as they move towards digital innovation is to avoid having their citizens stand in lines for transactions; instead, they motivate the public to go online. 

This is exhortation the Valenzuela City government gave its constituents who still opt for physical transactions and avoid taking their business transactions online. The city has launched a string of innovative solutions that the city has laid out this year to streamline its operations and want to ramp the uptake of online services. 

To encourage the public to shift to online transactions, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian announced in a statement that the city government has inked a Collections Services Agreement with Union Bank of the Philippines. Under the deal, a new payment option shall be added in the recently unveiled Paspas Permit System. 

The Paspas programme integrates several key business transactions with the local government. These include dealings regarding zoning procedures and issuance of sanitary permits to establishments. Applications for health certificates are likewise included in the list of services catered by the online system. 

Under the new payment option, account holders of the partner bank may settle their business taxes without convenience fees. For non-account taxpayers, they may still use the payment scheme to pay their taxes virtually. However, they will shoulder fees at a rate of 1%. Payment can be made using credit cards or debit accounts under selected lenders through the PCHC PayGate. 

Meanwhile, the delivery of permits and documents are coursed through commercial courier service and will ordinarily take about three to five working days. 

Contributing to ease of doing business in the country 

The mayor expressed his confidence that the ease and convenience brought by the virtual payment scheme will further improve tax collections in the city. He added that the partnership came at an opportune time, a month before the “tax season in Valenzuela”. 

He also encouraged the public to take advantage of the benefits of the new payment scheme amid restrictions and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mayor added: “Use Paspas Permit system as it is now completed with new enhancements to ensure safety and convenience and to avoid convergence of people during the business permit renewal season at the designated payment centres.” 

The Paspas Permit programme is part of the 3S Plus online service launched by the city government last month. This service aims to integrate the application for permits and other requests for public documents into one platform. 

Before the introduction of the Paspas Permit, the city said that processing through physical transactions usually takes 30 minutes. With the integration of the new programme, the city anticipates that it can shorten this turnaround time. 

The new agreement is in line with e-governance initiatives undertaken by several other local governments and departments in the Philippines in a bid to comply with the provisions of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. This Act was signed into law to amend the existing Anti-Red Tape Act. Its purpose is to facilitate faster and more seamless government transactions. It covers all offices and agencies in the Executive Department, local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations. 

Local governments are not the only agencies investing in innovative technology to ramp up their operations. Several agencies have undertaken necessary improvements in their digital transformation. In an earlier news story by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that the smarter way to upscale operations is by introducing “smarter” technology. The DTI explained that the role of innovation in boosting economic growth has been made more apparent in the face of the global pandemic. The department thus urged key market players, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, to invest in tech and cultivate an innovative mindset. 

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