BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance authorizing barangays to issue business permits to sari-sari stores and to collect business taxes for their operations, including those with gross sales of more than P50,000.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Peter Fianza stated the local government recognizes a better and more effective delivery of some services through the barangays and with shared responsibilities, resources and authority, delivery of such services can be better coordinated to promote common interest and benefits of the city and the barangays.
With decentralization, Fianza claimed the city will continue to work for the gradual transformation of barangays into effective instruments through which the people govern themselves and work out their own destinies in a most genuine fashion.
Under the proposed ordinance, a sari-sari store shall not be allowed operation without the appropriate business permit having been issued in accordance with the rules or process adopted through an ordinance by the barangays.
It was specified the barangay ordinance shall not set aside existing requirements imposed by the city ordinances like those intended to ensure the safe and healthy operations of the stores, including fire, safety and health inspections and clearances, work permits for operators and handlers.
The barangay ordinances to be passed shall include assessment and payment of reasonable business permit fees and business taxes to be collected by the barangays concerned and it may also provide for penalties for the violation of the existing ordinances.
Pending the adoption by the barangay of its appropriate ordinance, Fianza explained permits for the operation of covered sari-sari stores shall continue to be issued by the city which shall also collect the business taxes thereon until taken over by the barangay.
The ordinance mandated sari-sari stores to comply with the requirements imposed by existing laws or ordinances and those that shall be adopted.
On the other hand, sari-sari stores with liquor and beer shall secure special permits from the local government as may be allowed for their continuous operation.
For purposes of coordination, the ordinance stated barangays shall submit to the Permits and Licensing Divison quarterly reports that shall contain among others a list of all business establishments granted permits by the barangay for the period and a list of businesses operating in the barangay without business permits. The report shall describe the nature of the businesses reported, provide the names of owners or operators thereof and the places of their operations.
In the case of a conflict in the classification or permitting of stores, Fianza explained the classification made by the Permits and Licensing Division shall prevail until such time that it shall be resolved or set aside by law or competent authority.
He revealed the passage of the ordinance will strengthen the recognition and preservation of an original and peculiar Filipino livelihood said to be a personification of the Philippine small business industry, the sari-sari store.
It will inspire and afford barangays a better appreciation of empowerment as they will find it easier to have the store comply with regulations they have adopted than city rules, and cooperation with systems or activities mutually beneficial to the city and the barangays will be encouraged. By Dexter A. See