The Cities of Cagayan De Oro, Batangas and Iloilo, recipient local government units (LGUs) for the implementation of the Investment Enabling Environment (INVEST) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) visited Valenzuela City on different occasions recently to study the city’s investment promotion and economic development programs.
The two-year INVEST-USAid project envisions developing model cities that can inspire other local government units to seek higher levels of economic performance. According to Invest Project chief of party Ofelia Templo, the three recipient LGUs were chosen among first class cities in the country with strong economic and political leadership, and with great potentials to become an economic hub.
The INVEST Project seeks to address the key constraints underlying the low level of private investment in the Philippines. Program activities aim to improve the investment and business climate by, (1) lowering the transaction costs and reducing the cost of doing business involving both national and local level regulations and processes; and (2) increasing the flow of private investment and number of business start-ups in the Philippines.
Valenzuela City has been becoming a favorite destination for study tour of local government units from different parts of the country, having earned a good reputation after garnering awards and citations from numerous credible organizations, such as the DILG-LGPMS, World Bank and International Finance Corporation, to name a few.
Templo further stressed that Valenzuela City was chosen as one of the venue cities for the study particularly because of its streamlined and automated business processes. Obtaining a business permit in Valenzuela only takes about 15 minutes with the 3 simple and easy steps under the 3S (Simple, Speed and Service Excellence) in Public Service Program which entails a post-audit system on other related permits in starting a business.
City Mayor WIN Gatchalian, together with the key finance offices heads namely, Business Permits and License Office (BPLO) Head, Atty. Renchi Padayao, City Treasurer, Ms. Rosa Irma Alcoran, City Assessor, Atty. Cecilyn Andrade and City Information Technology Department Head, Mr. Randy Sison, welcomed the delegation composed of the three LGUs’ chief executive and its finance committee.
They visited the Valenzuela City Finance Center where all business-related offices are housed in close proximity to each other for ease of transaction to observe business permit and licensing transactions, and the Geographic Information System (GIS) which aids both the city and the constituents in the management of their real property taxes.
Mayor WIN is glad that Valenzuela City is chosen as one of the cities for study. “It is flattering to know that our efforts of making our city conducive to investment are being recognized by international agencies that are experts on tracing best practices on economic development initiatives, such as the USAID.”
As one of the cities of study, Heads of the Business Permits and License Office (BPLO), and City Information Technology Department presented in behalf of Mayor Gatchalian the city’s unique experience in implementing automated and streamlined business processes in a forum jointly organized by Invest USAID, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) - Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) dubbed as“Moving Forward: From Streamlining BPLS to eBPLS (Sustaining Partnerships for BPLS Reforms).”
The benchmarking tour also opened opportunity for further future collaborations between Valenzuela and the three cities. Batangas City recently signed a sisterhood agreement with Valenzuela and Iloilo also signified its interest to forge ties with the city.
Sisterhood agreements which Valenzuela City enters into are usually aimed at fostering meaningful and technical exchange and cooperation for sustainable development, trade and investment, tourism, information technology, human development, as well as, culture and the arts.