The Department of Tourism (DOT) is consistently promoting our national tourism slogan… “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, and now they are also trying to make “doing business” more fun in the Philippines. With the increasing value of the Peso and the growth of our economy, as heard and seen in the news, perhaps we can be optimistic that doing business is really becoming more fun in the country.
However, millions of Filipinos are still suffering from poverty. There are still many Filipinos who don’t have a decent job to make a good living – we are still suffering from high unemployment rate. But of course, making the Philippines more fun is not only the duty and responsibility of the DOT or the administration, but it is the responsibility of every Filipino. Thus, we cannot put all the blame on the top government, but we should also put it in all the government – us.
I’m still optimistic that doing business will be more fun in the Philippines. However, our government, especially those who have the power to make, pass, and implement a law, should lead by example to eradicate the things that make doing business sad and disappointing in the Philippines.
To make something more fun, it must be fun first, right? How can we make something more fun, if it’s not fun in the first place?
The government is inviting foreigners to invest in our land – that’s good. The president is travelling overseas to convince foreigners to put their money in our country and create jobs for Filipinos – that’s also good. But how about inviting and encouraging first our own people to invest in our own land? How about giving full support to small and business entrepreneurs to create more jobs for our own people?
We really want to make doing business more fun in the Philippines. We really want to make living more fun in the Philippines. Having more fun in doing business in the Philippines should be for all, whether they are Filipinos or not and whether they are small or big business owners
If the top government really wants to make “doing business more fun in the Philippines”, then they should take actions on the following:
1. Make the business registration more efficient. Yes, the government has already implemented an express or one-stop shop business registration in some of the cities in the Philippines – that was a good news when it was launched. However, it’s not yet implemented in most of the cities in the country. Doing business in the Philippines is not only doing it in Makati City or Mandaluyong City, but doing business in the Philippines is doing it in all parts of our country. If the government wants to make doing business more fun in the Philippines, then they should also take a look at the other parts of our country. They should implement the one-stop shop Philippines Business Registry nationwide.
2. Punish the corrupt officials. Businesses have to deal with various government offices, and we cannot deny the fact that corruption can be found in any of them. I don’t need to talk about it in details, but if the government really wants to make doing business more fun in the Philippines, these corrupt public officials should be punished and even go to jail for making the lives of business owners and entrepreneurs miserable. Corruption doesn’t facilitate business registration or regulation in the country. When an officer demands a kickback or money from you – it’s simply not cost-efficient for a businessman.
3. Implement more laws that support SMEs. There are actually laws enacted by the government that support SMEs and micro-business owners, like the Republic Act 9178 (BMBEs Act of 2002) and RA 9501 (Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). However, these laws should cater all the needs of small business owners and startups in the Philippines, not only for the agri sector or micro-financing industries, but with all the business industries in the country. Moreover, these kinds of legislation and other laws in the future should be well introduced and thought to every Filipino entrepreneur. I doubt that the majority of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our nation have ever heard about RA 9178 or RA 9501.
There are still many other actions the government can do to make doing business a good experience in the Philippines. For example, instead of threatening small entrepreneurs to run after them when it comes to BIR registration and tax payments, why not make BIR business registration and filing of taxes easier for them? The government should provide regular training and seminars to aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs. Things like tax filing, bookkeeping, and other business processes are not easy to do – unless you will hire professionals to help you with them, which is not affordable for small business owners.
Auditing is important for a business to promote fairness, integrity, and transparency. That is why the SEC and BIR require businesses to submit audited financial statements to them. But to make doing business and even paying taxes more fun in the Philippines, why not strengthen first the auditing of our government agencies? If the government auditors cannot do extensive audits on the government to promote fairness, integrity, and transparency – then let the independent auditors audit them.
I’m glad that the Philippine economy is showing a positive growth. This is a good encouragement for investors and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Philippines. It could make doing business “fun” in the Philippines. But if we really want to make doing business “more fun” in the country, then the government should be more extensive and sincere in implementing solutions to realize that goal… not only in metro manila but in all parts of the Philippines… not only for foreign business investors and large Philippine companies but for all business people, especially the small and medium business owners.