The Department of Finance (DOF), along with the Departments of Information Technology (DICT) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG) led the launch today (December 4) of a digital platform that aims to streamline the application and renewal of business permits through the online sharing of information by government agencies involved in this process.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the launching of the Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB) system is among the initiatives of the DOF as lead agency of the government’s anti-red tape program (ARTA) to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
Beltran said the PBDB will also involve the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which chairs the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s economic zones and over 1,600 local government units (LGUs).
“With the PBDB, government agencies can readily access data on a particular business, eliminating the need for business owners to bring numerous documentary requirements when transacting with the government,” Beltran said.
The PBDB is a DOF project under its anti-red tape program headed by Beltran, and was developed by a team from the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology. The system will be managed by the DICT.
Through the PBDB, government agencies would be able to verify the existence of a business entity using a single reference document. The information in the PBDB database will initially be provided by the DTI, SEC, the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) and the LGUs, starting with Quezon City.
In the future, the PBDB will include business data of economic locators in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the other ecozones across the country.
The PBDB would also allow the public to verify the existence of a specific business entity, which the system would be able to generate by accessing data from various sources.
Information shared in the PBDB system covers data that businesses have already made public as contained in their respective business permits that are required to be displayed in a conspicuous area in their place of business, the DICT said.
According to the DICT, the verification of a specific business entity is limited to exact name searches, which prevents users from resorting to random searches of phishing.
Director Anna Lia Bonagua, who heads the DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Development delivered the opening remarks, while Stefan Flores of the DICT gave an overview and demonstration of the PBDB during the system’s launching ceremony at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City.
The PBDB’s web-based application can be accessed via the National Government Portal, the DICT said.
Besides the PBDB, the DOF earlier said it was harnessing the power of digital technology to implement two other major initiatives in improving the ease of doing business in the country.
These are the TradeNet platform for traders and a parallel modernization initiative in the DOF and the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs.
DOF’s technology modernization architect Dr. Dennis Reyes said the TradeNet platform, which will also serve as the Philippines’ link to the ASEAN Single Window gateway, will be up and running by the end of the year and will later place onboard a total of 66 government agencies “progressively over the course of the next two to three years.”
Beltran has said that TradeNet.gov.ph will allow traders to use the system to apply for import and export permits initially for rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and cured tobacco.