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STREAMLINING PROCEDURES

We follow ‘ease of doing business’ law, SBMA head assures locators

03:11 AM September 24, 2019

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Zambales, Philippines — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has assured locators here that there are existing measures to streamline business procedures and expedite transactions in this free port, the agency’s head said.

Lawyer Wilma Eisma, SBMA chair and administrator, said they extended the validity of the locators’ business permits from one year to three years and put up one-stop shops to automate the processing of permit renewals.

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“We have operationalized these measures last year, which was also the time when President Duterte approved Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018,” Eisma said in a statement.

Eisma was reacting to the calls from some businessmen here urging the SBMA to adhere to RA 11032.

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Subic Coastal Development Corp. (SCDC) said securing permits from the SBMA could take “an excessive amount of time” while Brighterday Subic Ltd. Inc. said the agency had a “stringent collection policy” that was “punitive rather than corrective.”

Antired tape

Robert Gonzaga, president and chief executive officer of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBMEI), said the SBMA’s lack of streamlined procedures could “either be a catalyst or disruptor of economic development in [the free port].”

But Eisma said the SBMA had formed an antired tape unit following the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations for RA 11032 in July.

“[We] also created three technical working groups to oversee compliance with the law,” she said.

Eisma asked the businessmen to personally discuss their concerns with her.

In a statement on Monday, Gonzaga said SBMEI had already reached out to Eisma and responded to those issues she cited.

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Business solution

“[SBMEI] has even tried to provide the SBMA with a business solution, within reason, and out of good faith. We continue to hope for a positive resolution of these matters,” he said.

Gonzaga said locators were only citing their experience and that “SBMA should consider feedback from locators as constructive criticism.”

He added: “The SBMA should then try to rectify the situation if there’s a gap between reality and its official actions.”

SCDC said the company’s point of contention was its development commitment. “We are completing that [development commitment] but are running into red tape in getting it accomplished,” it said, adding that it has potential investors in place to develop its property. —JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT

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TAGS: Ease of Doing Business law, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Wilma Eisma
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