DAVAO CITY — Local government units (LGUs) in the Davao Region that want to streamline their business permit application processes face the challenge of poor connectivity, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi said Friday.

At a news conference, Ms. Ambi said several LGUs that are looking to adopt automated systems cannot readily do so due to weak telecommunication services.

“The intention is that everything should be computerized,” she said.

Ms. Ambi noted that connectivity is among the “pillars” that would make an LGU competitive, along with dynamism, resiliency, and good governance.

Republic Act 11032, the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, requires LGUs to process business permit applications within three days.

Several highly-urbanized cities, mostly in the National Capital Region, have tapped digital systems to cut application time to as little as under an hour.

In Davao City, the most urbanized area and the regional center, the city council has recently called out to telecommunication companies following numerous complaints over Internet services.

“The telephone companies are so fast in accepting new subscription but slow in responding to complaints,” Councilor Jessica M. Bonguyan, committee on information technology chair, said.

Aside from the independent city of Davao, the region covers the provinces of Davao Occidental, Oriental, Del Sur, Del Norte, and De Oro. It has five component cities (Digos, Mati, Panabo, Samal, and Tagum) and 43 municipalities.

Ms. Ambi said aside from automation, LGUs in the region also still need to reassess requirements that slow down the application process.

DTI-Davao del Norte Provincial Director Romeo L. Castanaga said some officials in the region have been visiting other LGUs to learn best practices such as adjusting the application period away from the usual January cycle.

“They have been distributing forms (for renewal and new applications) in November,” he said, then payments and releasing of papers can be done faster by the start of the new year. — Carmelito Q. Francisco and Maya M. Padillo