SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Office of the Ombudsman has conferred the Blue Ribbon Certification on this city for its systems and procedures in business registration and licensing, and renewal of business permits.

City Mayor Pablo Ortega received the certification from Deputy Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera, who represented Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, on February 16 at the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman in Quezon City.

The award was based on criteria drawn from the 2009 Integrity Practices in Issuance of Business Licenses and Permits of Selected Cities in Metro Manila and other related sources.

The Blue Ribbon Certification is given based on the recipient’s excellent performance in nine broad categories and 87 total standards namely: Application Form – with 6 standards; Requirements – 16 standards; Procedure – 13; IT-enabled system – 9; Citizen’s Charter – 6; customer convenience – 12; anti-fixing mechanism – 12; business
permit – 6, and continuous improvement – 7.

City Permits and Licensing Office head Ofelia Mendoza said the assessment was undertaken by independent assessors from the Ombudsman’s office from January 14-23 covering the Business Permits and Licensing Office and the City Treasurer’s Office – the two primary offices involved in licensing and renewal of business permits.

The assessors conducted interviews with the city’s clients and partner-agencies in the process like the Bureau of Fire, on-site observations, document reviews, process walk-through and simulations, Mendoza said.

A major factor that contributed to a streamlined process is the Business Process Improvement (BPI) which reduced the steps from 42 to 3 and only 30 minutes to complete.

The city government’s BPI was given due recognition by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, a public governance reform institute in East Asia.

Mendoza also disclosed that for the National Capital Region, Quezon City has received the same award, while for North Luzon, only San Fernando City, La Union was certified.

It was the first time that the city received such certification the Office of the Ombudsman, which will expire on February 15, 2019,
according to Mendoza. MIRIAM P. AQUINO/PIA1 La Union/