No, I am no expert in BBQ.
And certainly I did not expect to land in the front page of the Mindanao Daily Mirror yesterday over grilling.
Well, I did not grill anyone at the City Council last Tuesday. I actually asked three simple questions from the representative of the World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC) regarding its study that showed “it is difficult to start a business in the city.”
Its study claimed that it takes 42 days to obtain a business permit in Davao City. Repeat 42 days!
And so, I asked the WB-IFC rep how long it would take her to travel from her office to City Hall, about 3 kilometers way. She was a bit surprised by my question. She replied 15 minutes.
Then, I inquired how long it would take her for her lunch break that day. One hour she answered.
Finally, I asked her if she were to report these activities to her HQ in Washington DC, would she report the trip and the lunch separately as 1 Day each?
At first she was hesitant to answer. She finally conceded to report it as 15 minutes and 1 hour respectively and on the same day.
I rest my case.
Her admission to these fact were clear indication to me that their study had a fatal and fundamental error. In their time-motion study of obtaining business permits, they quantify the activities by the day and not by the realistic average time such as for instance, in minutes or hours. We all know that time is gold to business people.
Thus, their study claimed that it would take 1 Day to get a residence certificate from the City Treasurer, and another 1 Day to obtain a business permit application form, and so on. I raised this objection because in reality, one could secure these two things in a few minutes or at most 1 Hour.
In obtaining a zoning certificate, their study listed a total of 9 days to get one! Our zoning official was present at the City Council session at the time and so I moved for her participation. Architect Luisa Tuquib refuted the WB-IFC study. She said the certificate could be obtained in a few minutes. She said if she were out of the office, the same could be obtained in half a day or at most 1 Day.
The second objection I raised was in the manner of listing each and every step in obtaining a business permit. Many of these steps could be done simultaneously or in parallel with other steps. Yet, in the WB-IFC study, it listed each step separately and on separate days. OMG, haven’t they heard of multi-tasking!
Hence, in the case, for instance, in obtaining a residence certificate from the City Treasurer and obtaining a business permit application form at the Business Bureau, the study listed the two activities as 1 Day each and on 2 separate Days. This is a total exaggeration!
The City Treasurer’s Office and the Business Bureau are neighbors – yes side by side – at the ground floor of the City Council Building. Therefore, obtaining these two requirements could be done in a matter of minutes or at most an Hour or so, and could be done in the same Day. Surely, not 2 Days as claimed by the WB-IFC.
Veteran Councilor Vic Advincula summed up our long debate on the issue. He raised the collective concern of the members of the City Council over the apparent “dis-information” when he concluded that the study was “grossly wrong!”
On a final note, there are about 34,000 registered businesses in the city. If it were true that it takes 42 Days to secure a business permit in the city, we would have seen a revolt in town a long time ago!
Yes, there may be faults and loopholes in our system and these are being addressed. But this is not comparable to the folly of the WB-IFC methodology!
Incidentally, the grilling was well done!