January 19, 2021

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Philippine Local Government Units urged to set up automation systems

Like other innovative programmes, data automation has become part and parcel of organisations’ digital frameworks, particularly in workplaces where a more seamless flow of data gathering and analysis is needed to scale up operations. This is the trend today as most government agencies migrate toward digitalisation to boost their services. 

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is at the lead in harnessing the advantages of the automation technology. According to a statement, the department urged various local government units of LGUs to set up their own electronic Business One-Stop Shop (e-BOSS) in order to beat the June 17 deadline for automating their transactions as required by the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) and Efficient Delivery of Government Service Act. 

The statement comes after Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA Director General, led on-the-spot inspections in LGU offices, including those in Malabon, Quezon City and Pasig City, to ensure that they are complying with the EODB law which mandates that government offices must put up BOSS applications to provide improved public service. 

The BOSS is an application that runs on a single-window system. It is integrated into most agencies’ work models to expedite the processing of application forms and submission of documents in government offices. 

Improvisations were later introduced to this programme by digitalising it. The e-BOSS currently utilises the Electronic Business Permitting and Licensing System or eBPLS, a software that was developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). With the implementation of the e-BOSS, transactions with the government were integrated and were allowed to be undertaken virtually. 

It likewise allows the use of e-signatures in public documents and features for online payment of transaction fees.  

Compliance with ease of doing business measures 

The ARTA Director General expressed his approval over the efforts of city governments to comply with measures aimed at promoting ease and convenience in public transactions. He emphasised: “This is compliance with the President’s directive to put everything online. The local governments’ initiatives were in line with their motto that we can see through the facilitation of online payments.” 

He lauded Pasig City’s e-BOSS programme for permit applications and renewal processes. The Director General slipped in a quick reminder for other LGUs to fully automate within the coming months and before the deadline for compliance. 

Under the EODB law, all LGUs, government-owned or controlled corporations and other government instrumentalities both in the Philippines and abroad which are providing services, are required to promote ease of accomplishing business and government transactions by establishing applications that can streamline operations. The goal behind this measure is to ensure compliance with the standard turnaround time for transactions, automated business processes and improved government transparency and accountability among government agencies and personnel. 

One of these methods is through the establishment of an e-BOSS. The ARTA Chief said: “LGUs who will be found to be non-compliant with the requirements of the law shall receive Notice of Deficiencies and may be subjected to a formal investigation which may result in an administrative case.” 

As provided under the law, officials and employees who violate provisions of the EODB measure shall be meted with administrative and criminal sanctions. These violations include refusal to accept and process government application or permits, the imposition of additional fees, collusion with “fixers” and missing deadlines. 

In promoting ease of doing business in the country, several key reforms have been introduced by the Philippine government. Among them is the establishment of online platforms to assist startup enterprises. As earlier reported by OpenGov Asia, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced the launch of an application that will allow owners of businesses located outside the country’s capital to showcase their products and services.