The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is reiterating its call to government agencies to refrain from imposing cut-offs and quota system and to strictly observe the no-noon break policy in their transactions in compliance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business.

Last February 19, ARTA conducted a surprise inspection at the Registry of Deeds (RD) Manila after receiving reports on the 3 p.m. cut-off system being implemented by the agency despite its 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. official working hours.

ARTA was then able to confirm the agency’s said cut-off system after meeting applicants outside who arrived beyond 3 p.m. and were asked by the security guard to return the following week.

This constitutes for a violation under Section 21(f) of R.A. 11032, specifically the “failure to attend to applicants or requesting parties who are within the premises of the office or agency concerned prior to the end of official working hours and during lunch break” which is punishable by law. Violators may be suspended from office on the first offense and dismissed from service and imprisoned for up to six years on the second offense.

Director General Jeremiah Belgica pointed out the agency’s blatant violation of the said provision to Registrar of Deeds Manila Atty. Marisa Timones.

“Kung kailangan hong mag-overtime, mag-overtime, then let us make the necessary adjustments. Otherwise po, hindi po tayo mapipilitang mag-automate at magdagdag ng tao. Ang nangyayari ho kasi, yung tao ang nag-aadjust sa atin sa gobyerno. Hindi ho pwede yun,” Belgica advised the Registrar of Deeds.

The ARTA inspection team also visited the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Taguig following complaints on its quota system.

ARTA stressed anew that implementing cut-off and quota systems should not be the government’s resort to minimize physical contact in their offices during this health crisis. As such, it is calling on ROD Manila, LTO Taguig, and all other government agencies to fast-track their automation efforts to accommodate the applications of the transacting public. ARTA, on the other hand, will be providing the agencies with the needed assistance in their streamlining and automation initiatives.

“Hindi po solusyon ang cut-off system ngayong may health crisis. Ang kasagutan po ay automation. Matagal na pong binibida iyan ng mga ahensiya kasama dito ang virtual queueing, online appointments, pati na ang digital processing. Muli po nating irereiterate ang sabi ng pangulo, bawal na ang pila,” Director General Belgica emphasized. ARTA has been conducting surprise inspections since January and will continue to do so in the following days to monitor the compliance of national government agencies and local government units with the provisions of R.A. 11032. In this regard, it is continuously encouraging the public to relay to its channels any inefficiencies observed of and experienced from government agencies using the hashtag #iARTAnaYan.