16 May 2022- We at the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) welcome President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) No. 170, series of 2022, which institutionalizes the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements and collections.

Citing Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, the order states that the acceptance of digital payments in government collections will promote efficient delivery of government services, expedite transactions, boost revenue, and reduce the risk of graft and corruption.

The order states that all government agencies, local government units, and other government instrumentalities should use safe and efficient digital disbursement in the payment of goods, services, and other disbursements, including in the distribution of financial assistance, as well as in the payment of salaries, wages, allowances, and other compensation to employees.

It also orders all government agencies to use secure payment processing solutions to ensure that various digital payment methods are accepted. The said agencies may engage the services of established Payment Service Providers, provided that only interoperable digital payment solutions which are compliant with the National Retail Payment System Framework shall be availed.

With this order, government agencies no longer have any excuse to not use digital payments in their processes.

ARTA has been consistently promoting the use of digital payments in the government in line with the President’s directive to shift to e-governance during his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA). We see it as a means to address several red tape problems at the same time. As it provides a convenient option for the transacting public to settle their government transactions at the comfort of their own homes, it could also ease long queues at physical government offices and lessen the risk or opportunity for corruption to occur.

Among some of the issuances that we have released:

• ARTA Advisory No. 02, Series of 2020 which aims for red-tape reduction measures in the creation of business one-stop shops (BOSS). Through the BOSS, interactions between government workers and the transacting public were minimized and the use of digital payments was implemented.

• Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 11, Series of 2020 which mandates the online filing, processing, and payment of port charges, cargo handling charges, other cargo handling-related charges, permits and ancillary fees, and customs taxes and duties.

• ARTA Memorandum Circular No. 2020 – 06, Series of 2020 which states the guidelines on the issuance and/or reinstitution of permits and licenses under the “new normal.” Under these new guidelines, it was stated that digital payments for licenses, permits, and other fees may be used.

• ARTA Memorandum Circular No. 2021 – 01 Series of 2021 or the issuance of the Whole-of-Government Reengineering Manual, government agencies were mandated to submit their reengineering reports for the streamlining and automation of government services, which could lead to the establishment of a digital payments system.

• One of the key features of the electronic business one-stop shop (EBOSS), which LGUs are mandated to establish, is that it can accept online payments using online payment facilities and other payment gateways or alternative digital payment options.

ARTA has also made several media statements to express support for the use of a digital payments and collection system in the government.

We backed Senate Bill 1764 or the proposed Use of Digital Payments Act, authored by Senator Sonny Angara, which mandates the use of digital payment in the collection of taxes, fees, tolls, imposes, and other revenues, and in the payment of goods, services, and other disbursements. Through this measure, government payments such as cash aid will also be directly transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.

The Authority has also been tapped to join the national digital transformation strategy technical working group in Congress. Apart from our push for digital payments, we are also promoting the adoption of the Philippine Good Regulatory Principles (PGRP) and the Whole-of-Government Reengineering Manual and the improvement of the government’s data-sharing systems.

Digital payments were also encouraged during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as it lessens the risk of transmission.

ARTA is more than ready to offer support and assistance in the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to ensure that the guidelines in the adoption of the use of digital payments are streamlined.

We will also monitor the compliance of all government agencies with the newly released EO.

With a little over a month left before he bows out from office, this new order ensures that reforms on streamlining, reengineering, and digitalization will be one of President Duterte’s lasting legacies for the generations to come.

Again, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our visionary and once-in-a-generation leader President Duterte for leading our nation in the train of reform against red tape.