ARTA welcomes bill granting Duterte anti-red tape powers

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2020 02:20 PM

A man looks at his SSS document as he files claims at the Social Security System (SSS) main office in Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— The Anti-Red Tap Authority (ARTA) on Thursday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to certify as urgent a bill that would give the chief executive emergency powers against red tape during national emergencies.

“Kami po ay natutuwa dahil sa panukalang ito na batas (We are happy about this bill). Anything that would help hasten the process sa gobyerno (in government) is really a welcome development,” said ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica.

Duterte on Wednesday certified as urgent Senate Bill No. 1844 that seeks to authorize the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications.

He said in his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III that the bill would “facilitate economic activity, accelerate the socioeconomic recovery of the country, and ensure the prompt delivery of public services in times of a national emergency such as the present COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This is really good kasi pati 'yung rekisitos na nire-require ng batas ay maaaring ma-suspend under this law,” he said in an interview on TeleRadyo.

(Even the requirements may be suspended under this law.)

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Belgica said that the average time for government services in general as stated in the law on ease of doing business is 3, 7, and 20 days.

“Out of 10,000 government agencies, may 7,000 na mahigit na ahensiya na nagsumite na ng kanilang mga citizen's charter na nagrereflect yung 3 days, 7 days, and 20 days. They are already holding themselves accountable for the 3, 7 and 20,” he said.

(Out of the 10,000 government agencies, more than 7,000 agencies have submitted their citizen's charter that reflected the 3 days, 7 days and 20 days.)
 
Since last year, Belgica said almost 7,000 permits have been automatically approved by ARTA. 

“Dinala sa amin kasi ‘di na-process within the processing time so we declared it as automatically approved by operation of law,” he said.

(These were brought to us because they were not processed within the processing time so we declared it as automatically approved by operation of law.)

But Belgica earlier said that the solution to red tape are streamlining and automation.

CENTRAL BUSINESS PORTAL LAUNCH

Meanwhile, Belgica said ARTA and the Department of Information and Communications Technology are looking at the second week of November for the phase 1 launch of the Central Business Portal, a centralized system for processing of permits and licenses. 

“It’s already on beta testing. Ang Central Business Portal para itong central station ng tren pero dito 'pag pumunta ka doon sa central portal na 'yun, lahat ng government agencies na mayroong permits, licenses pwede mong matukoy doon,” he said.

(it's like the train's central station where all the government agencies requiring permits and licenses are found there.)

Belgica said they would also create a single window for five government agencies.

“For example gusto mong magtayo ng korporasyon kung saan dadaan ka sa 5 ahensya—SEC, BIR, SSS (etc)—ngayon isang application form maghahati-hati na sila doon ng information. Ang gusto natin, 1 day na lang para sa lahat ng 5 ahensiya na 'yan,” he said.

(For example you want to start a corporation where you need to go through 5 agencies, now there is only one application form and the information there will be shared by the agencies. We are aiming for 1 day business transaction for all 5 agencies.)
 
He added that for phase 2, they would be linking local government units to the portal.