Philippines is one the most difficult countries in terms of “easy of doing business”. Aside from the 15 different procedures that you need to follow, you also need to deal with different kinds of governmental agencies in registering your business. To help you handle the bureaucracy in the country, here are some of the governmental agencies that you need to deal with in doing business in the Philippines.
• Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – actively promotes the development of a globally competitive Philippine capital market, effectively regulates and monitors its operations, and widely disseminates reliable information for the protection of the investing public. This agency handles the registration of Domestic Corporation, Partnership, Representative Office, Branch Office, Regional Headquarter (RHQ) and Regional Operating Headquarter (ROHQ).
• Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – is the executive department of the Philippine Government tasked to expand Philippine trade, industries and investments as the means to generate jobs and raise incomes for Filipinos. This agency handles the registration of a Sole Proprietorship entity.
• Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) – is an attached agency of the Department of Finance responsible for the assessment and collection of all internal revenue taxes, fees and charges. BIR also enforces all forfeitures, penalties, and fines connected therewith. It is mandatory that every company incorporated in the Philippines must be registered with BIR.
• Social Security System (SSS) – is a social insurance program for workers in the Philippines. It is a government agency that provides retirement and health benefits to all enrolled employees in the Philippines. Members of the SSS can also make ‘salary’ or ‘calamity’ loans. It is a mandatory requirement for the companies in the Philippines to register their employees with SSS.
• Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) – is a tax-exempt, government-owned and government-controlled corporation (GOCC) of the Philippines, and is attached to the Department of Health. It states its goal as insuring a sustainable national health insurance program for all. Companies in the Philippines are required to register their employees with PhilHealth.
• Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) – more popularly known as the Pag-IBIG Fund, was established to provide a national savings program and affordable shelter financing for the Filipino worker. The Fund offers its members short-term loans and access to housing programs. It is also a mandatory requirement for companies in the Philippines to register their employees with HDMF.
• Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) – is a government agency in the Philippines under the Department of Trade and Industry created to help promote investments in the export-oriented manufacturing industry into the country by assisting investors in registering and facilitating their business operations and providing tax incentives. PEZA also assists investors who locate in service facilities inside selected areas in the country (areas are called PEZA Special Economic Zones) which are usually business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing firms.
• Board of Investments (BOI) – is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry that is responsible for the promotion of investments in the Philippines. BOI assists Filipino and foreign investors to venture and prosper in desirable areas of economic activities.
• Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines (FDA) – formerly the Bureau of Food and Drugs or BFAD, was created under the Department of Health to license, monitor, and regulate the flow of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and household hazardous waste in the Philippines. FDA’s main goal is to ensure the health and safety of food and drugs made available to the public. Permits such as License to Operate (LTO) and Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) are being secured from this agency.
• Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for governing and supervising the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country’s natural resources. DENR handles all environmental compliances.
• Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) – was created to administer and implement State policies for an effective intellectual and industrial property system, including protecting and securing the rights of individuals to their intellectual property and creations, particularly when beneficial to the people, and promotion of spreading knowledge for progress and the common good, making more efficient the process of registering patents, trademarks and copyrights, liberalization of the registration on technology transfer, and enforcing intellectual property rights.
• Bureau of Customs (BoC) – is a bureau of the Philippines’ Department of Finance in charge of imports, exports, and foreign trade. BoC is specifically mandated to 1) assess and collect lawful revenues; 2) prevent smuggling and other frauds; 3) control vessels and aircrafts engaged in foreign trade; 4) enforce tariff and customs laws; 5) control the handling of foreign mails for revenues and prevention purposes; 6) control import and export cargoes; and lastly, 7) it is given jurisdiction over forfeiture and seizure cases.
• Bureau of Immigration (BI) – is responsible for the control and regulation of the arrival and stay of foreigners including the admission, registration, exclusion, deportation and repatriation of aliens. It also supervises the immigration into and emigration from the Philippines of aliens.
• Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – is the executive department of the Philippine Government mandated to formulate policies, implement programs and services, and serve as the policy-coordinating arm of the Executive Branch in the field of labor and employment. It is tasked with the enforcement of the provisions of the Labor Code.
Though Philippines has tremendously improved its economic status and rankings, dealing with the bureaucracy in this country still remains a major problem for most investors. However, having an expert like Triple i Consulting with extensive experience in dealing with governmental agencies, success is 100% achievable.
May Anne Cruz-Ofalla
Associate Account Executive
Unit 616 Tower One Stock Exchange
Makati City, Philippines 1226
T: +63 917 546 39 69