21 September 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will form a technical working group (TWG) that will focus on crafting a localized Doing Business (DB) report methodology or criteria.

Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA Director General, made the motion to create the TWG, which the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council (EODB-ART) approved in its 15th council meeting on Monday.

The newly formed TWG will be headed by Undersecretary Ernesto Perez, ARTA Deputy Director General for Operations, and will be comprised by members of the EODB-ART Advisory Council.

The initiative came days after the World Bank declared that it would discontinue its annual DB report following internal data irregularities in the 2018 and 2020 results.

Belgica said creating a “more personalized and localized” version of the DB report would help government officials maximize their learnings and continue their doing business efforts in a more nuanced way citing the importance of private sector feedback as a success measure.

“We will do a little bit more of contextualizing in the Philippine system for the benefit of our government… so we can see if we are improving from where we used to be. The participation of the private sector is indispensable in the entire system that we are hoping to have. At the end of the day it is the transacting public who should be benefitted by the reforms that we are instituting that is why their feedback and inputs should take a prominent role in the process and the results,” he said.

Belgica also laid out plans to expand its roster of ARTA champions or private sector partners that will help in implementing the mandates of ARTA, including the monitoring of government services.

“We shall be including the ARTA Champions who are from the private sector and will continue to invite more groups to join,” he added.

In line with this, the ARTA chief said they will also be implementing the Report Card Survey (RCS), a tool that will measure the effectiveness of the Citizen’s Charter in reducing regulatory burdens and the impact of human resource systems and programs in delivering efficient government service.

This tool is in accordance with Section 2, Rule 12 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The results of the RCS will be used as one of the bases in granting rewards and incentives to government agencies.

This will be done in coordination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The RCS is set to be rolled out on the first quarter of 2022.

Belgica also said that localizing the DB report will allow the Authority to address some of the apparent limitations in the World Bank’s annual report.

Earlier, Belgica called on the World Bank to review its methodology in ranking countries as its method does not capture the Authority’s numerous efforts on the ground in streamlining government processes.

Before this, he also pointed out the “inconsistencies with the results of the customer satisfaction survey by agencies against the assessment of the DB respondents.”

However, the ARTA chief also credited the World Bank for bringing streamlining, re-engineering, and automation of government services into focus and being the driving motivation for the passage of R.A. 11032 that led to the eventual creation of ARTA.

Belgica said the creation of the TWG will signify their commitment to continue with their doing business efforts even without the international survey.

“Our efforts would be undeterred because the efforts against red tape and the efforts for ease of doing business are so big, are so large that they cannot be contained in a single survey,” he said.

“ARTA’s goal is not only to get good scores but to provide the best service and the best comfort from our government agencies,” he added.