MANILA -- Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Sunday urged Malacañang to mete sanctions to agencies that will fail to meet their pledges for faster document processing and reaction to distress calls.
The pledges, attached to 2017 budget requests of agencies, range from "a seven-minute response time of firemen to alarms, to a 15-minute maximum crime scene arrival of police officers, to delivery of car plates and stickers in seven days, to a 'gone in 40 seconds' in immigration arrival gates," Recto said.
Other targets include the pledge of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration that "100 percent of all OFW requests for assistance be acted upon within 24 hours and the Department of Transportation's vow that light rail trains will have an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour."
The Philippine Statistics Authority, meanwhile, said 96 percent of requested documents will be released within the prescribed time, Recto said.
While it gave no specific target, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it would render service that will be rated "good or better" by 90 percent of passport applicants.
The Bureau of Customs has also issued timetables in the processing of cargo, while the National Bureau of Investigation committed to process clearances within 10 minutes and the Land Registration Authority promised a 20-day deadline in the issuance of land titles.
Recto said even infrastructure projects are now bound by performance guarantees, with the Department of Public Works and Highways assuring that 100 percent of road projects will be completed on time.
The Palace, he said, must closely monitor these pledges as President Duterte was elected on the promise of quick government action , given his "legendary disdain for government offices that make people wait."
For easy monitoring, the senator urged Malacañang to collate all the important targets, especially the maximum processing time for commonly requested documents.
Recto said the executive branch should also review performance guarantees and assess if the deadlines are too long.
He also called for a change in many performance benchmarks as some are misleading and do not guarantee fast service.
Citing an example, Recto noted that the "processing time" target for some documents is clocked the moment the document is handed over to the government employee and "does not count the time spent in queues."
"Kung 10 minutes nga lang ang actual processing time, pero limang oras ka sa pila, nasaan ang mabilis na aksyon doon [Even if the actual processing time is just 10 minutes, but you stood in line for five hours, where is the rapid action there]? So this kind of target cleverly camouflages red tape," he said.