The investment promotion units (IPUs) of 28 government agencies made a commitment to further enhance their coordination and complementation activities in promoting and facilitating investments in the country during the group’s annual IPU Network (IPU-Net) meeting at the Board of Investments (BOI) recently.

The IPU-Net is composed of 28 government agencies dedicated to facilitate and resolve investors’ issues and concerns, namely: the BOI, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CITC), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DOF), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Housing Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

BOI, being the lead government agency in investments promotion and the secretariat of the IPU-Net, convened the meeting at the BOI Bldg. to discuss the group’s initiatives and accomplishments in 2015 and how all the members can further sustain this year the efforts to improve the business environment in the country through streamlining of procedures and establishment of close coordination between and among the concerned government agencies on matters involving investments and investors’ issues and concerns.

“The group has been instrumental in investment facilitation activities including the removal and/or reduction of barriers and impediments to investments such as but not limited to trade and industry liberalization, institutional/ structural reforms, simplification of business procedures, and among other concerns of foreign and domestic investors,” said BOI Director for Investment Assistance Service Domingo Bagaporo, who also serves as chair of the IPU-Net meeting.

In 2015, the IPU-Net facilitated 162 issues and concerns which is 245% of their 66 target.  The group also received a 99% customer satisfaction which is higher than 87% of their 2015 target.  Of the various issues and concerns, about 52% were related to policies and guidelines, 41% were for follow-ups on pending applications and requests, and 7% were related to fraud, misrepresentations, and inquiry about the legitimacy of companies.

Among these issues and concerns brought to the IPU-Net, 50% were for the BOI, 9% for the DENR, 5% for the Bureau of Imports Services (BIS), 7% for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 4% for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 5% for the Bureau of Immigration (BI), and 3% for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).  The remaining 28% were for various agencies like Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Social Security System (SSS), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

During the meeting, the BOI also awarded certificates of appreciation to IPUs in recognition of their active participation in BOI’s One Window Network (BOI-OWN). The BOI-OWN is a cloud-based web portal and mobile application system that enables investors to lodge queries and concerns online. As an online investment facility, it deploys a more efficient content management system, ensuring customer-friendly responses by using the latest cloud application. The project also includes a system that can track and monitor the real time status of investor’s inquiry and concerns using personal computers or smart phones. BOI-OWN is part of the BOI’s transformation program to better serve its stakeholders and also to achieve its main goals of having a competitive business and investment environment in the country.

In 2015, IPU-Net also conducted meetings with the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines to inform them of the group’s various investment-related initiatives. Several meetings with the other Foreign Chambers of Commerce were also held last year.

Through the IPU-Net, BOI also signed five Memoranda of Agreement with various government agencies which are expected to speedup facilitation the processing of applications, permits and licenses necessary for existing investors and businesses operating in the country.  These agencies include DOT, SEC, DOH-Health Facilities & Services Regulatory Bureau, DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, and the FDA.