A digital platform that will streamline the permit application process was launched on Monday as part of government efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
The Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB)—a Department of Finance project under an anti-red tape program—will allow government agencies to verify the existence of a business entity using a single reference document.
The PBDB, developed by the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute, will be managed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Initial data will be provided by the Department of Trade and Industry, Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cooperatives Development Authority and over 1,600 local governments starting with Quezon City.
It will be expanded to include information on locators registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and other ecozones across the country.
The database will also allow the public to verify the existence of a specific business entity, officials said.
“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,” Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said in a statement.
The DICT said that information in the PBDB system covered data already made public as contained in the permits that should to be prominently displayed in places of business.
Verification of a specific business entity, meanwhile, will be limited to exact name searches, which the DICT said would prevent phishing.
The PBDB’s web-based application can be accessed via the National Government Portal.
In addition to the business database, the Finance department has also moved to harness digital technology for two other major initiatives: TradeNet platform for traders and a parallel modernization initiative that includes the bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs.
The TradeNet platform, which will also serve as the Philippines’ link to the Asean Single Window gateway, is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
Beltran has said that the TradeNet system will initially allow traders to apply for import and export permits for rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and cured tobacco.
The Philippines has fallen 14 notches in the latest World Bank ease of doing business rankings, with the country 113th place out of 190 economies.
Measured in terms of the distance to the frontier or the best observed performance across all economies, the country’s score of 58.74 (with 100 being the highest and zero the lowest) increased by 0.42 but was still lower than the East Asia and Pacific average of 62.70.