It is not the renowned pancit or the seasonal flooding. It is that Malabon City has become one of the most expensive places to do business in a drastic and prohibitive move for 2017 by Mayor Len-Len Oreta. Compared to Makati City, where a business grossing P120K/yr. pays only P6,000, Malabon City’s skyrocketed from P9,000 in 2016 to a whopping P13,500 for the 2017 renewal for the same grossed amount and business type! Many small and medium-sized business owners were surprised (and shocked) and were questioning the sudden and enormous increase.

This unprecedented and unreasonable move by Mayor Len-Len Oreta and his administrators overshadowed Malabon City’s more-improved, speedier “one-stop-shop” system that gives business owners a chance to renew business permits within a day. In fairness to Mayor Oreta, “one-stop-shop” system has been in Malabon City for the past 2-3 years (less-improved versions of it, that is) – even before Pres. Duterte’s marching orders (during his first SONA) to local and national executives to make doing business renewals and other bureaucratic processes less inconvenient and speedier for Filipinos.

It is questionable how Makati City, one of the richest cities in the Philippines, levies a lot less on its small businesses than Malabon City. Makati City have all the big businesses, yes, but to take it out “across the board” in Malabon City – even on small and medium-sized businesses that gross only P120K/yr. – really? Considering these colossal fees, Malabon City residents should be getting more in terms of services and benefits than Makati residents, but are they? They certainly aren’t.

Pres. Duterte’s Davao City is renowned to be a model for efficiency in bureaucratic service, could their rates be as low as Makati City’s or as prohibitive as Malabon City’s?