15 September 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), congratulated the city government of Pasig City, led by Mayor Vico Sotto, for arresting a building and electricity permit fixer.
According to a report, the suspect was arrested in front of a convenience store in Barangay Sto. Tomas, Pasig City on 14 September 2021 after a complainant sought help from the police.
The fixer allegedly pretended to be an engineer and charged the complainant P328,000 for the fast processing of her building permit. However, he gave the victim a fake permit and asked for additional payment. Further investigation showed that the fixer was not authorized to process applications.
“These instances are testaments to the Pasig City government’s commitment to eradicating red tape in their jurisdiction. We would like to stress that the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will support them in these initiatives in every step of the way,” Belgica said.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Sotto said they will also investigate if the fixer has cohorts within the Pasig City Hall after the suspect identified a local government employee who he is working with.
“Ongoing investigation—inaalam ng mga pulis kung may kasabwat siya sa City Hall. Pero peke naman ang pirma sa mga dokumento,” his post read.
“We’ve made big progress in cleaning up the Office of the Building Official, especially under Engineer Agustin. Isipin mo dati, may fixer na nandoon mismo sa tanggapan ng OBO,” he added.
Belgica was glad to see that Pasig City is also using the snake grab approach that consists of a three-step strategy: arresting fixers lurking outside, investigating government offices inside, and serving show-cause orders against the head of the office.
“We are very happy to know that Pasig City is also employing the use of our snake grab approach, that we at ARTA have been instituting as our official anti-fixer and anti-red tape strategy,” he said.
“This affirms our belief that whether these fixers are small-time criminals or big fishes inside government offices, they are still committing a crime and have to answer to the authorities,” he added.
Less than a month ago, the Pasig City government also arrested fixers selling “Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) ayuda” forms to unqualified beneficiaries.
Sotto warned the public to not engage with fixers and report them to authorities instead so they can slap them with charges.
“Tandaan din natin, walang fixer kung wala silang kliyente at walang scammer kung walang magpapaloko,” he said.
The ARTA chief echoed this statement and encouraged the public to file their complaints and reports before the agency.
“Corruption is a two-way street. Huwag na po kayong mag-engage sa mga fixers dahil madadamay lang po kayo kapag nahuli na namin sila at sasampahan na ng kaso,” he warned.
“Huwag po kayong matatakot magsumbong dahil tama po ang ginagawa niyo. Para tuluyan nating mapuksa ang red tape sa bansa, kakailanganin natin ang tulong ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno, lokal na pamahalaan, at maging ng taumbayan,” he added.