For longtime business owners and those looking to start a new business in GenSan, it has been a sad and exhausting reality for several years past that is the rather crowded, convoluted, and time-consuming process that is the procurement or renewal of business permits. The local city government has enacted a succession of procedural reforms in the hope that things could be hurried along, though the success of these improvements is up for debate. This new year however, the LGU is introducing their latest shapeup of the business permit process, all in the hope of really reducing permit procurement time.
FAST (friendly, accessible, simple and timely) is the new Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS) that has been activated by the GenSan city government this Wednesday, January 3 according to Minda News. This was in line with the beginning of the mad-dash annual period for the registration and renewal of business permits in the city, running for two and a half weeks until January 20. BPL Division head Geraldine Zamora remarks that they have significantly trimmed down the necessary steps for issuing or renewing permits, from the 15 that takes 2-3 days to just three steps taking up 2-3 hours.
The employment of FAST as a “one-stop shop” for processing business permits, notes Zamora, is a step towards compliance with the DTI, DILG and DICT’s Joint Memorandum Circular 01, series of 2016. The memo emphasized that the only steps absolutely needed in BPLS all over the country is: 1) Filing and assessment of application/renewal; 2) payment of necessary fees; and 3) claiming of the permit. Best estimates of completion time for the three-step procedure was as low as 40 minutes, but given the new and untested nature of the new reforms, was given a generous time limit of 2-3 hours.
It all sounds ideal and convenient, but as covered on Wednesday by TV Patrol SOCSKSARGEN, despite the streamlining of steps, permit applicants and renewals still went over the promised two-to-three-hour duration, much to the consternation of the crowd at the BPL Division of the Investment Center Building at the City Hall Complex. Entrepreneurs, accountants and professionals were left with the impression that things haven’t much changed at all despite claims otherwise. Early-morning applicants found themselves still stewing at their seats well past lunchtime, which they skipped as per habit in those times. BPL staffers blamed system slowdowns for the delays.
Put on the spot by ABS-CBN News GenSan, Zamora admitted that it was an unfortunate setback that their computer system had been uncooperative on the first day. All they can do for now is apologize and once again promise that the tech hiccup will not recur in the following days.
Photo courtesy of LGU Gensan FB Page