Phase 1 of PH business registration portal goes live

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Government agencies led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) formally launched on Thursday, Jan. 28, the first phase of the Central Business Portal.

The project proponents said the CBP is being developed and deployed in phases, with the initial phase centered on an online, unified business application process. Upon completion, the CBP will be a one-stop-shop for all business-related transactions such as securing business permits, licenses, and clearances.

The creation of the CBP is mandated by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2018. The law aims to eliminate red tape, graft and corruption, promote transparency, and sustain ease-of-doing business.

“We can expect a simpler business registration process for our fellow Filipinos; ensure the people’s safety from virus transmission as physical contact is lessened; and most importantly, diminish, if not totally eradicate, bureaucratic red tape in government offices,” said DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.

The CBP features a unified application form and user dashboard which enables businesses to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) online.

The portal also offers the BIR ePayment system for registration fees and the registration of employer numbers for the social security agencies: SSS (Social Security System), PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG.

Moreover, the CBP processes applications for secondary licenses under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s license to operate for pharmaceutical companies. The portal also links to select local government units’ (LGUs) online business permitting systems, including Quezon City and Parañaque City.

Currently, the portal allows the registration of one-person corporations, corporations with two to four incorporators, and regular corporations whose incorporators are juridical entities and/or the capital structure is not covered by the 25%-25% rule.

To govern the use and implementation of the CBP, a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) was also digitally signed by the partner agencies through the DICT’s Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) digital certificates. The JMC outlines the roles and duties of participating agencies, the actual process and data flow, as well as security and data protection measures that will cover the use of the portal’s online payment facilities.

As the project implementation of the CBP is being done in phases, DICT undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic briefly provided an overview of the CBP roadmap: “On the next phases, the team will be working on maximizing the number of beneficiaries for end-to-end online business registration for the rest of 2021,” he said.

Phase 1 is dedicated to the process for Starting a Business, Phase 2 will focus on Renewal, Amendment and Changes, and Phase 3 will cover other business-related transactions and the possible improvements to the mobility of the CBP through the development of a web or mobile application. The team also envisions a more integrated registration and payment process with partner LGUs and agencies.

ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica explained that the current business registration process in the Philippines takes 13 steps and 33 days to be finalized. The CBP will radically reduce the number of steps and time needed by migrating the processes online, with the objective of reducing it to a 1 step, half-day process this 2021.

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