2 Mindanao export firms on permanent shutdownEase of doing business to reduce corruption in government topped the wish list of the business sector that they want President Marcos to commit in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, July 24.


Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George T. Barcelon said that top of mind in the business sector’s wish list for the President’s SONA is the ease of dong business in government agencies and especially at the local government unit (LGU) level.

According to Barcelon, the Anti Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is doing its job, but it cannot do it alone. He said the bigger part lies on LGUs to further ease doing business. “It is best to impose a target for LGUs to achieve ease of doing business to facilitate investments into their locality,” said Barcelon.

LGUs, he said, should be able to facilitate investments for jobs creation. “It is good that the Department of Trade and Industry/Board of Investments has already created the Greenlane for Strategic Investments, but LGUs  should do more in facilitating these investments,” said Barcelon.

Since bureaucratic red tape is associated with corruption, Barcelon stressed the need to impose timelines in government processes and transactions. “President Marcos has been going out to promote investments and we are going again to Malaysia, but the LGUs should also be able to facilitate the inflow of these investments because this is a teamwork. We need more jobs for agriculture and fisheries,” he said.

“LGUs should think like PEZA to create more job opportunities in their localities,” he said adding he expects the LGUs to “improve the environment with clear regulation and a mentality  to be able to create more job opportunities.”

Digitalization would be able to help in easing cost of doing business because this limits face-to-face transactions in government agencies, he said. While there is this initiative, he urged the  implementation of a score card to ensure phased achievement.

He also cited the need for government to work on improving the cost of logistics because the Philippines has one of the highest in this sector. With the enforcement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP), Barcelon said local businesses would be at the losing end if logistics cost remains high.

Other issues the President should prioritize include education as the Philippines ranked among the lowest.

Edgardo Lacson, chairman of the  Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), also listed corruption as number one among the business sector’s wish list in the President’s SONA.

“Reduce corruption in government,” said Lacson.

Other priorities, he said, the government should address include the continuation of the Build Build Build program; keep inflation in check, modernize transport system(air, land water);

adequate, stable and affordable power and water supply; food security; reengineer education system; strengthen defense of territorial integrity; rationalize party list system and revert to traditional two party system; and prepare to adopt artificial intelligence technology in all facets of national, social, academic, and industrial/commercial  applications

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., urged the President for the urgent appeal of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) AO 04-2021 as this will
add huge cost and extra processing time to import and export shipments.

Instead, he said, exporters strongly the government to continue to streamline processes and implement computerization towards ease of doing business and ensure whole of government approach to development.

“Rationalize importation of raw materials especially for export production and to stabilize prizes of prime commodities,” he said.  He also pushed for continued Build Build Build program.

Other issues in his list include review/update/strengthen skills mapping and upgrading to keep up with technology developments; implementing Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) in reviewing existing and new government processes; climate change interventions; and, address high cost of power, water, and telecommunications.

As president also of ECOP, Ortiz-Luis urged the President to stop efforts to legislate minimum wage.

For the legislative branch, ECOP is pushing for the passage of the amended Magna Carta for MSMEs;  Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act; ASIN Law; PhilPorts Act to decouple the regulatory and developmental functions of the PPA; Revised Warehouse Receipts Act for movable collaterals; and, increase DTI budget, particularly for export promotion fund and shared services facilities