THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it will work with local government units (LGUs) for a full nationwide rollout of online one-stop shops for their permits by next year, with the aim of improving the Philippines’ global innovation ranking.

“Because of the sheer number of LGUs there will be a lot of work ahead of us,” ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in a mobile message.

The Philippines made significant progress in the Global Innovation Ranking 2020, but continues to lag in some aspects like regulatory and business environment and quality of education.

The Philippines ranked 50th among 131 economies, but was 104th in regulatory environment, 124th in ease of starting a business, and 114th in education.

“Improving performance in ranking requires a structured whole-of-government approach towards sustainability of the gains made to ultimately achieve ease of doing business in the Philippines,” ARTA said.

The authority’s projects include the streamlining of government agencies to reduce processing times and expanded online governance.

ARTA said the Philippines is consistently weak in areas like ease of starting a business, ease of getting credit, and investment.

For next year’s index, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña in a mobile message said the department will be prioritizing the development of research and development in university centers outside the capital and contributing resources to tech-based startups and small business in-house research.

Department of Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio in a phone interview Sunday said the department is focusing on improving quality instead of just access to education.

The Philippines placed 106th in expenditure on education. It placed 78th in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and 106th in pupil-teacher ratio.

Inaaral natin (We are studying) how we can scale up the best practices of the high performers (in) PISA,” Mr. San Antonio said, noting that teacher upskilling and curriculum review are in the works.

“(There are) long-term financial implications, (and our concern is to set priorities), right now the urgent need is to address the pandemic.”

The Philippines’ ranking in the World Bank Doing Business report 2020 rose to 95th from 124th a year earlier. — Jenina P. Ibañez