Ombudsman cites Makati gov’t for ‘ease of doing business’
MANILA, Philippines–After weeks of being under scrutiny in the Senate blue ribbon committee over allegedly overpriced building projects and other irregularities, the Makati City government gets another “blue” marking—but for a more pleasant reason.
The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday recognized the administration of Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. for its efforts in reducing red tape for investors and ensuring ease of doing business in the city, which hosts the country’s financial district.
Makati received from the antigraft body a Blue Certification, which acknowledges its high level of compliance with the 87 standards set for the registration of new business and renewal of business permits.
Of the three cities evaluated in Metro Manila, Makati was found to have the highest rate of compliance at 75 percent (meeting 65 of the 87 standards), earning a Blue Certification-Level 2.
The two other cities, Marikina and Taguig, both complied with 60 standards and received a lower Level 1 certification.
The standards basically provide measuring tools for the quality of application requirements and procedures, IT-related systems, level of customer convenience, and anti-“fixer” mechanisms, among others.
Assistant Ombudsman Evelyn Baliton awarded the plaque of recognition to Binay in simple rites held at the mayor’s office.
Baliton, who represented her agency’s Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (Pacpo), explained that the Blue Certification initiative seeks to “determine causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud and corruption in the government, and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.”
Still in its pilot stage, it is designed to “pressure (local government units) to introduce and institutionalize reforms in order to reduce the burden of red tape in business regulations in their locality,” she said. It also sets a methodology designed to guide LGUs in regulating businesses.
In response, Binay said he was grateful and happy with this “positive news” from the Office of the Ombudsman, noting that it was the first time that the antigraft body had assessed this particular aspect of an LGU’s performance.
“At least a portion of what we are doing here has been recognized by the Ombudsman (for being) transparent,” Binay told reporters after the awarding.–Maricar B. Brizuela
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