STO. TOMAS, a first class municipality in Davao del Norte, has adopted a “no contact policy” in the registration and renewal of business permits through the establishment of a business one-stop shop (BOSS), where documents will simply be submitted for immediate processing. Mayor Ernesto T. Evangelista, in a statement last week, said the policy means there should be no interaction between the applicants and the local government employees processing the applications. The goal, the statement said, is to eliminate red tape and reduce the processing time from a week to just one day. “Under the Ease of Doing Business law, business permits applicants have to process their documents in three steps: ‘File, Pay and Claim’,” Ana Jane C. Gatillo, head of the Business Permits and Licenses Office, said. She added that registration and renewal of business permits and licenses will be completed in a day if applicants submit all the requirements. The municipal government expects to process about 2,000 applications during the license renewal period from January 2 to 20. “We believe that it is high time that we prioritize measures that will make public service more effective, efficient, and pro-people,” Ms. Gatillo said. Earlier, Trade and Industry Regional Director Ma. Belenda Q. Ambi called on local government units to institute reforms in their business processes despite poor connectivity in the Davao Region, which poses a challenge to the adoption of technological innovations. “We really need a better connectivity if we want this (better ease of doing business) to happen,” she told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the annual achievements presentation last December. — Carmelito Q. Francisco