Anti-Red Tape office for North Luzon opens in Baguio

Anti-Red Tape office for North Luzon opens in Baguio

NORTH LUZON ANTI-RED TAPE OFFICE INAUGURATION. The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) inaugurates its first North Luzon regional office located at the National Food Authority compound in Loakan Road, Baguio City on April 28, 2022, led by Chief of Staff and deputy director-general for Administration, Finance, and Special Programs USec Carlos F. Quita (seated second from left); deputy director-general for Legal USec Eduardo V. Bringas (seated third from left); and deputy director-general for Operations USec Ernesto V. Perez (seated fifth from left). Photo by Merriam del Rosario, FNS

BAGUIO CITY — The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Thursday, April 28, inaugurated its first Northern Luzon regional office at the National Food Authority (NFA) compound in Loakan road here, aspiring to widen its reach in catering to red tape concerns and complaints of residents of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region I, and Region II.

The launch of the regional office was led by ARTA officials, namely Chief of Staff and deputy director-general for Administration, Finance, and Special Programs USec Carlos F. Quita; deputy director-general for Legal USec Eduardo V. Bringas; and deputy director-general for Operations USec Ernesto V. Perez.

“We are here to help our fellow servants in streamlining the government so that we can deliver more efficient government services to the people,” USec Carlos F. Quita said.

For his part, USec Perez said that ARTA’s efforts to reform the bureaucracy started with the passing of the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 which was to be implemented by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

USec Perez said that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was mayor of Davao, realized that the CSC covers a wide range in its mandate as the principal government in charge of the biggest HR of government agencies.

Implementing the anti-red tape policy of the government is another addition to CSC’s many functions.

USec Perez said the president didn’t want Filipinos to be in difficult situations like having to go through long queues, so two years thereafter when he became president, Duterte passed a law amending RA 9485.

RA 11032, also known as Ease of Doing Business and Effective Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 or the ARTA Law was then passed and became effective on June 17, 2018.

“ARTA is mandated by RA 11032, and the primary purpose of the agency’s mandate is to implement the national policy of the ease of doing business and anti-red tape,” USec Perez said.

USec Perez said that the agency has a two-point mandate: the empowerment side, enabling and capacitating agencies to comply in order to improve delivery of efficient government services; and the enforcement side, which is handled by its legal unit.

“It is a game-changer law, not the kind that prosecutes, entraps, or that runs after fixers. We are also partners of government agencies. We enable and capacitate them with the values and initiatives required,” USec Perez said.

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the ARTA law state that Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), government instrumentalities located in the Philippines or abroad shall comply with the prescribed procedures for the issuance of local business licenses, clearances, permits or authorization streamlined as follows:

  • Unified Business Application Form;
  • Establishment of Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS); and
  • Barangay clearances and permits, which are now issued at the city or municipality

and shall likewise comply with the 3-7-20 processing time as follows:

  • 3 working days for Simple Transactions;
  • 7 working days for Complex Transactions; and
  • 20 working days for Highly Technical Application.

Automatic approval is also highlighted in the IRR stating that in cases where an agency fails to approve or disapprove an original application within the prescribed processing time, the said application shall be deemed approved.

“Napakaganda ng mga batas natin, napakaganda ng mga plano ng gobyeno natin…kung mahaba ang pila, isumbong ninyo. Alam ng government agency na kapag isinumbong sila sa ARTA, matatakot sila because we have the mandate to call on all government agencies and correct them under a whole of government approach. A simple request should be responded in three working days,” USec Perez said.

USec Perez also said that all government agencies are mandated to set up current and updated Citizen’s Charter to indicate in detail the following:

  • Checklist of requirements for each type of application or request;
  • Person/s responsible for each step;
  • Amount of fees (if any);
  • Procedure to obtain a particular service;
  • Maximum time to complete the process; and
  • Procedure for filing complaints.

“Sana ang mindset ng bawat empleyado ng gobyerno ay trabaho lang. Kung gusto mo magpayaman sa gobyerno, this is not the place for you. We are here to serve. The government pays us, di na dapat maging corrupt dahil we are being paid well naman. We enjoy it if we are being able to serve,” USec Perez said.

Usec. Perez also said that ARTA’s programs and projects will continue despite changes in the administration after the May 9 elections.

ARTA’s deputy director-general for Legal, USec Bringas, reiterated ARTA’s dual function which enforces corresponding penalties to government officials and employees found in violation of the ARTA law, aside from empowering government agencies to comply in order to efficiently deliver government services, whether business or non-business related.

“Basically, ARTA is for ease of doing business and efficient delivery of government services, so ARTA helps government agencies to comply, but if the system suffers due to inefficient delivery of government services, ARTA’s enforcement function shall apply,” USec Bringas said.

USec Bringas also said that violators shall be responsible for the consequences of their actions and highlighted the heavy penalties.

ARTA implements the following 2-STRIKE policy for government officials and employees found in violation of the ARTA law:

FIRST OFFENSE: Administrative liability with six (6) months suspension, except for fixing or collusion with fixers where the Revised Penal Code shall apply.

SECOND OFFENSE: Administrative and criminal liability, as follows:

– Dismissal from the service.

– Imprisonment of one (1) year to six (6) years.

– Perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

– Fine of not less than P500K.

– Forfeiture of retirement benefits but not more than P2M.

Any person who commits any act such as but not limited to bribery, extortion or malicious solicitation of favor shall be criminally liable and shall be punished under the Revised Penal Code and other special laws.

The North Luzon regional office is initially operating with only five staff members led by Chief Administrative Officer Jojo del Rosario.

The other staff members are Atty. Darwin Marcos, Attorney III; CJ Saplad, Special Investigator; Joseph Cariño, Project Development Officer; and Charisse Anne Estolas, Administrative Assistant.

“Given our limited capacity, we will replicate those good practices like forming the ARTA auxiliary volunteers and eventually the initiative of putting up ARTA action centers in malls in Baguio City and (other areas) in Northern Luzon,” del Rosario said.

ARTA is set to open more regional offices all over the country in the following days. ###

Merriam del Rosario