JV Estrada and the ease of doing business in San Juan

factcheck estradaIn ANC’s morning show Headstart, Karen Davila asked former San Juan mayor JV Estrada “How many signatures does it take in San Juan to open a business?”

Estrada replied, “I cannot count exactly… probably four or five… We really cut down on the red tape… So that was my very first policy, to make San Juan business-friendly...”

The World Bank and International Finance Corporation conducted research in 2011 to measure the ease of doing business in the Philippines. The study surveyed 25 Philippine cities, finding “that starting a business was easiest in General Santos and most difficult in San Juan.” The study also mapped the procedures, time and cost to build a warehouse and ranks Davao City as the most efficient and San Juan as the least efficient.  Data for doing business in San Juan can be viewed here.

Part of the reason for San Juan’s low ranking is the length of time needed in opening a business. San Juan, according to the report, is “the only Philippine city that requires project approval by the Sangguniang Panglungsod or city council, which is the city government’s legislative body.”

The report entitled Doing Business in the Philippines 2011 uses a quantitative measure of the national and local regulations as well as administrative requirements in opening domestic small and medium-size enterprises. Full report can be downloaded here.*

In the same interview, Estrada claims that forms for opening businesses are now accessible online. The City of San Juan’s website has downloadable forms for business permits (new and renewal), building permit, electrical permit, excavation permit, occupancy permit and sanitary permit.

*Data are current as of June 1, 2010. Note that Estrada was mayor from 2001-2010 and was succeeded by his mother, Guia Gomez.