Stress-free business permit application process sought

In an effort to make the business permit application process stress-free, the Baguio City Council has passed a resolution requesting all the offices/departments of the City Government of Baguio involved in the issuance of business permits to review their office mandates to refrain from duplicating the functions of other offices/departments.

This, after Danilo Quinto, a concerned citizen, sought an audience with the local legislative body to bring up his observations and personal experience in securing a business permit.

Quinto said the process is “cumbersome, burdensome, and tedious,” causing unnecessary stress to applicants.

As identified during the council’s regular session last Monday, one factor that makes the process onerous is the duplication of functions of some offices/departments involved in the issuance of a business permit.

The offices/departments issuing certificates of clearance for the acquisition of a business permit are the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), the Baguio Fire Department (BFP), and Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) of the City Mayor’s Office.

The starting point of a business permit application is at the CPDO. The CPDO issues the locational clearance after checking the applicant’s compliance with the zoning ordinance.

Arch. Donna Tabangin, CPDO Chief, said some of her office’s functions are similar to the functions of the CBAO because certain provisions of the zoning ordinance were copied from the National Building Code of the Philippines which is the basis of the CBAO for issuing certificates of occupancy and building permits.

Tabangin stated that she will work with other department heads to “make sure that their duties and responsibilities are well-defined” and that duplication of functions will be eliminated.

The city planner also stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the productivity of her office. Thus, she appealed to the applicants to be more patient and understanding.

Nevertheless, she assured that the application process will become simpler and less stressful once the offices have fully completed the digitization of all systems in which all offices involved in the process are interconnected. This will allow clients to track the progress of their applications online. –Jordan G. Habbiling