Business registration is now made simpler and easier with the formal launch of the Central Business Portal Phase 1 on January 28, 2021. The CBP is being developed and deployed in phases, with the initial phase centered on an online, unified business application process. Upon completion, the CBP will be a one-stop-shop for all business-related transactions such as securing business permits, licenses, and clearances.

The creation of the CBP is mandated by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2018. Said law aims to eliminate red tape, graft and corruption, promote transparency, and sustain ease of doing business.

This initiative is in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call for all government agencies and instrumentalities to “make physical queuing a thing of the past.” In support of the CBP Phase 1 national launch, the President asked the implementing agencies to “continue working towards a more productive and empowered citizenry.”

“Today’s event is a testament to the endless possibilities of what we can accomplish through the dynamic partnership between government and the public sector. I am thus honored to join all stakeholders and beneficiaries of this program promote greater transparency and efficiency in registration of businesses in the country,” President Duterte said.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II expounded on the benefits introduced by the CBP for Filipinos:

“We can expect a simpler business registration process for our fellow Filipinos; ensure the people’s safety from virus transmission as physical contact is lessened; and most importantly, diminish, if not totally eradicate, bureaucratic red tape in government offices,” Honasan stated.

The CBP features a unified application form and user dashboard which enables businesses to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) online.

The portal also offers the BIR ePayment system for registration fees and the registration of employer numbers for the social security agencies: SSS (Social Security System), PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG.

Moreover, the CBP processes applications for secondary licenses under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s license to operate for pharmaceutical companies. The portal also links to select Local Government Unit’s (LGUs) online business permitting systems, including Quezon City and Parañaque City.

Currently, the portal allows the registration of one person corporations, corporations with two to four incorporators, and regular corporations whose incorporators are juridical entities and/or the capital structure is not covered by the 25%-25% rule.

To govern the use and implementation of the CBP, a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) was also digitally signed by the partner agencies through the DICT’s Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) digital certificates. The JMC outlines the roles and duties of participating agencies, the actual process and data flow, as well as security and data protection measures that will cover the use of the portal’s online payment facilities.

As the project implementation of the CBP is being done in phases, DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic briefly provided an overview of the CBP roadmap: “On the next phases, the team will be working on maximizing the number of beneficiaries for end-to-end online business registration for the rest of 2021,” he said.

Phase 1 is dedicated to the process for Starting a Business, Phase 2 will focus on Renewal, Amendment and Changes, and Phase 3 will cover other business-related transactions and the possible improvements to the mobility of the CBP through the development of a web or mobile application. The team also envisions a more integrated registration and payment process with partner LGUs and agencies.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica explained that the current business registration process in the Philippines takes 13 steps and 33 days to be finalized. The CBP will radically reduce the number of steps and time needed by migrating the processes online, with the objective of reducing it to a 1 step, half-day process this 2021.

“With this launching, we reap the fruits of our many months of labor with the launching of the Phase 1 of the Central Business Portal. Let us continue to work together towards our goal of enabling an end-to-end permitting system with the integration of the business permitting and licensing systems of more local government units, as soon as possible,” Honasan concluded.

The CBP Phase 1 is a joint initiative between the ARTA and DICT, alongside various partner agencies. It can be accessed through https://business.gov.ph.