Mall occupants now exempt from locational clearance

by Fernan A. Gianan

At this time of the year when all businesses are trying to renew their Mayor’s Permit to Operate, the Anti-Red Tape Authority has issued Memorandum Circular 2020-01 which orders all local government units (LGUs) to exempt business establishments located inside malls and Central Business Districts from requiring the submission of locational clearance and zoning ordinance.

A copy of the circular is still unavailable in the ARTA website as of Monday but the agency said it was issued to ensure the streamlining of requirements during the business renewal season.

The circular also requires LGUs to ensure the availability and accessibility of the local government’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) to the public.

It also orders LGUs to conduct a risk-profiling of business permits applications and renewal based on its geographical location and post-auditing of business tenants located within shopping malls and CBDs.

We don’t know if the 11 municipal governments in Catanduanes received the ARTA circular in time. It is highly likely that the towns have yet to get a copy since the document is usually sent through the mail.

If implemented here, the ARTA’s move would be welcome news to stall owners and occupants of the two malls in Virac. Now, for establishments inside central business districts, the CLUP would have to be checked if it has designated a CBD in the town.

This is probably the reason why ARTA requires the LGUs to make public the land use plan, so that those intending to set up a business in the town would know if the location he chose is within a commercial district or an area where his proposed business would not be appropriate.

On the other hand, we would have to see the circular copy to determine why the agency is asking LGUs to look into business establishments’ risk profile, which is a quantitative analysis of the types of threats an organization, asset, project or individual faces.

For the local governments, the circular would lead to a minor reduction in revenue due to the exemption from the locational clearance requirement but it would certainly help encourage more businesses to consider locating inside malls and CBDs.


A press release in the PIA website quotes a PhilHealth official in Leyte that the agency will soon give an advance payment to hospitals for the prospective payments of patients covered by state-run health insurance.

The amount to be given to hospitals accredited by PhilHealth will be computed three years back, and the average amount will be considered as an advanced payment to hospitals, Chief Social Insurance Officer Misael Paigan told the media last Jan. 10.

He also encouraged PhilHealth members to pay their contributions in advance for at least three years to avoid the rate increase every year.

This certainly good news for private and government hospitals, who have been complaining about the inordinate delay in PhilHealth’s payments for services rendered to insured members.



THE RACKET. A veterinarian had a tough day. However, when he got home from tending to a waiting room full of sick animals, his wife was ready with a long cool drink and a romantic candle-lit dinner. Then they had a few more drinks and happily went to bed. Than the phone rang…

“Is this the vet?” asked an elderly lady’s voice.

“Yes, it is,” replied the vet, “Is this an emergency?”

“Well, yes, sort of,” said the elderly lady, “there’s a whole bunch of cats on the roof outside making a terrible noise mating and I can’t get to sleep. What can I do about it?”

The vet drew a long breath, shook his head and patiently replied, “Open the window and tell them they’re wanted on the phone.”

“Really?” said the elderly lady, “Will that stop them?”

“Should do,” said the vet, “it stopped me!”

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