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Iloilo achieves business-friendly status

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


ILOILO HAS JOINED San Fernando as the second city to attain business-friendly status under a governance program administered by the Institute of Solidarity in Asia (ISA).

The Miag-ao church bell tower in Iloilo.

The Miag-ao church bell tower in Iloilo. — Photo By Sam Marcelo

ISA Executive Director Christopher P. Zaens said in a forum yesterday that Iloilo had completed the last of the governance program’s four stages.

San Fernando was earlier this month announced as the first local government unit (LGU) to attain business-friendly status under the program, which has been administered by the ISA since 2005.

Mr. Zaens noted that 34 local government units (LGU) had voluntarily joined the program, whose four stages are: the crafting of a road map by the LGU; development of a score card and its inclusion in the LGU’s planning and budgeting; implementation and monitoring of progress; and the achievement of breakthrough results.

The Western Visayas city, he said, was able to increase its income through improved tax collections and streamlined business registration processes.

From P825.890 million in 2005, Iloilo’s income rose to P917.439 million in 2006; P999.228 million in 2007; and P1.159 billion in 2008.

"We conducted consultations with the business sector and other taxpayers before implementing tax policies and tax increases to make sure that it will be acceptable to them," Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Trenas yesterday said.

He claimed the city was able to reduce the time it takes to obtain or renew a business license to one day, from seven days previously, through the establishment of a one-stop shop.

The gains, said Mr. Zaens, has started attracting investors, particularly those in the information communication technology sector. The number of business process outsourcing companies in the city rose to 12 last year from zero in 2005.

"Having completed the four stages and implementing changes, the city is now seen as a more attractive destination for investments and businesses," he said.

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