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Gov’t addresses building permit woes

/ 05:30 AM January 17, 2018

The national government has required local government units (LGUs) to streamline the application process for construction-related permits, a move that is expected to help the country’s rankings improve in the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) with other line departments setting service standards for the applications for those permits.

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LGUs were told to put up a four-step procedure in securing building permits, namely: Submission of application with complete documentation, receipt of the order of payment, payment of fees and claiming of the permits.

This is expected to cut the processing time to a maximum of five working days, while building permit applications under the Bureau of Fire Protection could not be longer than three days, DTI said.

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The JMC 2018-01 came as the country fell in its latest Doing Business ranking, dropping 14 notches to 113 out of 190 countries. The Philippines also declined when it came to dealing with construction permits, falling 16 notches to place rank 101.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who chairs the National Competitiveness Council and Doing Business Task Force, is confident that the recently signed circular will bring significant results in the country’s ranking in the Doing Business report.

“We fervently support the implementation of this circular as it strengthens our previous efforts to eliminate red tape. Now that JMC 2018-01 is in place, we look forward to improved ease of doing business and better performance in Doing Business rankings,” Lopez said.

To be able to comply with the service standards, the government is mandating LGUs to establish one-stop shops that will consolidate the processing of clearances issued by LGUs related to construction permits

Representatives from the Office of the Building Official (OBO), Treasury Office, Zoning Office, Assessor’s Office of the LGU, and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will be co-located in one area at the LGU.

Joint inspection teams will also be organized to ease the burden of applicants in accommodating multiple inspections by different offices before their certificates of occupancy are released, DTI said.

Following the JMC, Lopez also wants cities, especially those in highly-urbanized areas, to start developing a web-based system for online submission and processing of construction permits similar to the processes already being implemented by some Asean countries. —ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

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TAGS: building permit, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), local government units (LGUs), national government, World Bank’s annual Doing Business
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