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Accelerating eBOSS and AI Integration in the Philippines

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In a bid to accelerate economic growth and streamline government processes, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) hosted an Economic and Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Briefing at the Manila Hotel’s Centennial Hall A on January 24, 2024.

Image credits: Philippine Information Agency

With the theme “From Red Tape to Red Carpet: Charting Progress through Strategic Investment and Boosting Economic Opportunities”, the event aimed to foster collaboration across sectors and align with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to promote EODB through a whole-of-nation approach.

ARTA’s Director General, Ernesto V. Perez, declared the briefing as “a collective commitment to transform our nation’s economic landscape”. He emphasised ARTA’s ongoing efforts to simplify and optimise regulations and processes, highlighting that streamlined procedures lead to quicker investments and, subsequently, accelerated economic progress.

The current administration is actively seeking to fully embrace digitalisation and online payment systems as instrumental tools to enhance public services, streamline business processes, and combat corruption, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

The President acknowledges the role of digitalisation in improving both frontline services and back-end functions, enabling the government to engage in “data-driven and science-based planning and decision-making”.

In accelerating digital transformation and EODB initiatives, President Marcos Jr. is spearheading a comprehensive government strategy to expedite the mandatory deployment of electronic Business One-Stop Shops (eBOSS) across all local government units (LGUs).

The eBOSS system aims to streamline the application filing process and the issuance of local business licenses, permits, clearances, and authorisations.

This strategic initiative involves collaboration between the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In response to the government’s push for digitalisation, a leading technology firm is strategically focusing on serving national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) to facilitate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in public transactions.

The company, currently engaged with five NGAs and LGUs, stresses the role of government entities in leading the adoption of advanced technologies like AI, urging them to consider outsourcing digitisation needs for efficiency and innovation.

However, an Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) report reveals that only 19 LGUs have fully complied with the electronic Business One-Stop Shop (eBOSS), with over 1,000 LGUs yet to implement the scheme.

Secretary Frederick Go of the Office of the Special Assistant for Investment and Economic Affairs (OSAPIEA) outlined the administration’s initiatives to make the Philippines an investor-friendly destination of choice.

Secretary Go underscored the importance of cutting red tape in the government, citing the certification of 23 projects valued at approximately P500 billion under the Green Lane services. These projects, primarily in renewable energy, align with Executive Order 18, streamlining government processes for strategic investments.

Key programmes and initiatives presented by Secretary Go included the signing of the new Private-Public Partnership (PPP) code into law, and updating the 29-year-old BOT Law to revitalise partnerships and encourage unsolicited joint ventures. Additionally, he highlighted the passing of the Ease of Paying Taxes Act, modernising tax administration and strengthening taxpayers’ rights.

Looking ahead, Secretary Go outlined plans to create an investment-friendly environment, including the review of tax laws, empowerment of investment promotion agencies, simplification of VAT-related rules, and addressing customs administration issues through pre-border inspection and digitalised invoicing.

The event received widespread support from various sectors, with messages of acknowledgement, solidarity, positivity, and encouragement. In a bold move, Atty. Jose D. Lina, Deputy Secretary General of the Buklod Bayani Coalition, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with ARTA to support the implementation of the Buklod Bayani Programme.

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