The Municipality of Gerona, Tarlac
Gerona is a 1st Class Municipality in the Province of Tarlac. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 87,531 people with 21,349 households. The MacArthur Highway goes through the town’s center.
Gerona is one of the 17 towns of the province of Tarlac. It is bounded on the north by Paniqui; on the east by the Pura; on the south by Tarlac City (the provincial capital), and on the west by Santa Ignacia. The town is 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) from Tarlac City, the provincial capital; 55 kilometers (34 mi) from Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City; 72 kilometers (45 mi) from the regional center San Fernando, Pampanga, and 138 kilometers (86 mi) north of Metro Manila.
Gerona has a land area of 141.47 square kilometers (54.62 sq mi) of plain and rugged agricultural land representing 4.63% of the province’s total area. The Tarlac River, which originates from the eastern slopes of the Zambales Mountains, cuts across the west-central areas, dividing the town into two parts.ts. An inter-connecting bridge was completed in 2014 to connect the western areas of the municipality to the central part of the town. It is also perceived that it will be the gateway for the western areas of the Province of Pangasinan going through the Province of Nueva Ecija and vice versa. Within Metro Manila, Gerona is reachable within two (2) to three (3) hours by land.
The Municipality of Gerona is strategically located in the fastest-growing region and flanked by two (2) great trade routes. – The MacArthur High way and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), which, by the way, the first section of the project from Tarlac City to Gerona, Tarlac is in full operation since November 2013. Proposals have also been raised for extending the project all the way to Laoag Ilocos Norte.
Aside from the municipality’s strategic business location, it is also noted that other major advantages such as that of the municipality’s rich talent pool, business supportive government, and attractive investment incentive. Those qualities have made the Municipality of Gerona an alternative business location for companies.
We have five (5) big manufacturing companies, namely Oishi Foods Corporation, New Hope Central Luzon, Inc., Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods Philippines Corporation a Thai animal-fishery conglomerate and one of the largest poultry multinational companies operating in Asia,
TAIWAN-BASED aquaculture enterprise Grobest Group recently inaugurated its P1-billion manufacturing plant in Tarlac that is expected to produce fish feeds for the local market. READ MORE>>
and Taiwanese aquaculture feeds manufacturer Grobest Feeds, Inc. that was inaugurated last December 2015, seized the economic opportunity made possible by the recent fisheries law agreement between Taiwan and the Philippines with a $22 million plant, and newly established as of 2020 the Philippine Spring Water Resources Inc. located at Salapiungan, Gerona, Tarlac.
We also have two (2) famous fast-food chains namely MacDonald’s Philippines which started its operations in the year 2018 with its mission “To serve the Filipino community by providing great-tasting food and the most relevant customer delight experience” and Jollibee Foods Corporation one of the largest fast-food chain brands in the Philippines, operating a network of more than 1,400 stores who started operating in the year 2021. These two (2) famous fast-food chains are now ready to serve the people of Gerona and whoever wanted to visit this town.
The Local Government Unit of Gerona also provides training to the public. Quoting the Mayor’s tagline “Serbisyong Totoo” is evident in all our programs. Our focus is to educate provide skills training to the people of Gerona to be entrepreneurs or to be employed. We offer investors a pool of qualified employees, educated and trained by our partner Technical Education and Skills Development Authority(TESDA), Provincial Government, and other educational institutions.
Most business owners are burdened and dissatisfied by the long, confusing, and inefficient process of renewing the Mayor’s Business Permit. This became an additional disincentive to new entrepreneurs and investors to locate their business here in Gerona, Tarla. An unwieldy Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS) encourage the proliferation of so-called underground enterprises. As a result, we are on a losing end to generating higher revenues.
To improve our state of affairs, we have embarked on a project that will streamline our BPLS. Such a project seeks to shorten, simplify, and create a business-friendly permit process in our Municipality, thus raising the satisfaction level of the applicants, and improvement of such will increase the local revenues.
The streamlining of business permits and licensing is among the leading strategies pursued by Local Government Units to improve their business and investment climate.
In 2009, the municipality initiated its own BPLS improvement project aimed at making its Mayor’s Business Permit process more efficient and client-friendly.
Upon implementation in January 2010 of the process improvement solution offered, business operators of Gerona, in its client feedback form, a tool or mechanism designed by the Department of Trade and Industry to assess the performance and efficiency of the Business-One-Stop-Shop (BOSS), have been accorded already with a delightful break that cut the processing time by more than fifty percent (50%), reduced the number of steps into five (5). In turn, the level of clientele satisfaction has become more favorable.
The figures validate the fact that indeed, pursuing the streamlining of the BPLS can make an LGU more business and investment-friendly, thereby improving chances of becoming more competitive as a location of choice for entrepreneurial initiatives.
The municipality’s vision for a more business and investment-friendly BPLS was supported by the DTI. The active involvement of the Municipality of Gerona in the streamlining process assigned a project focal office/person and the relevant business stakeholders were on hand to drive the implementation of the project.
Around midstream throughout its implementation, it came up with a recommendation on how to shorten business permit processing time from the minimum of two (2) working days to the projected two and a half (2 1/2) hours only.
In deciding to seriously undertake a Business Permit and Licensing System streamlining project, the following key implementation steps have guided us through the process, to wit:
1. Secure buy in from key BPLS Stakeholders
The support for the active involvement of the public and private BPLS Stakeholders in the Municipality of Gerona needs to be secured to ensure optimal success. To concretize and legitimize such support, the Local Chief Executive issued an Executive Order for the BPLS Streamlining Project Focal Person who served as the overall project coordinator.
2. Streamline the Business Permit and Licensing Process
Document the current BPLS; and
Design new streamline process
To facilitate the accomplishments of these two sub-steps, the Municipality of Gerona opted to learn how to undertake these sub-steps from a peer LGU that has already succeeded in streamlining their business permit process.
3. Validate the streamline process with Stakeholders
A technical meeting participated in by all the concerned stakeholders should determine the training needs (of front-line service personnel, inspection team members, and others) of the LGU and the level they might be able to achieve in implementing the improved BPLS.
Through the years we made innovations with the streamlining process.
Delegation of Mayor’s Signature and Permit Signatories
The Executive Assistant is now also authorized to sign the rest of the Mayor’s permits endorsed to the Office of the Municipal Mayor. The employee assigned in the issuance and releasing of the Mayor’s Business Permit is housed at the Office of the Municipal Treasurer for the convenience of the applicants.
Pre-processing of Requirement
The Permits and Licensing Division shall implement a procedure that allows the Pre-processing of the requirements, for example, Sanitary and Health Certificate, Environment Compliance Certificate, Fire Safety Inspection Certificate, etc even for the incoming year.
One year validity of clearances of Pre-Processing of Requirements
Subject to existing laws and ordinances, all clearances like Fire and Safety Clearances that may be required for a business permit shall be valid for one year and shall be honored by the Permits and Licensing Division throughout its period of validity.
Inspection and information dissemination
Validity of Clearances
The Permits and Licensing Division is conducting a year-round inspection to closely monitor business establishments as well as to disseminate information regarding the business registration procedures of the Municipality especially the pre-processing of requirements and clearances.
Signages and Information Dissemination
The list of requirements and flowchart of procedures is conspicuously posted at entrances and other places in all offices involved in business licensing and permitting.