15 March 2021 – “Refrain from putting your names and faces on government documents”: This is the stern reminder of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica to government officials as election season draws near.

Belgica said he has received numerous complaints that some public servants have their names or faces imprinted on public documents like permits and licenses.

According to the ARTA chief, politicians have long since taken advantage of this system wherein the head of agency or local government unit usually places the former’s name and picture as indirect advertising or a way to make it appear that the people owe a favor to them.

“These pictures of politicians on permits and licenses affect the cost of printing that the applicants are shouldering,” Belgica said.

Belgica also stressed that the matter at hand is already being prohibited by the Anti-Epal provision or General Provision No. 82 of the adopted 2021 National Budget. Under the Anti-Epal provision, government officials, whether elected or appointed, are banned from self-promotion through placement of names, pictures, or otherwise on programs, projects, and any other initiatives that are funded by the government through the General Appropriations Act.

“With the election season nearing, mahigpit po nating pinaaalahanan ang ating kapwa kawani ng gobyerno, na tigilan na ang paglalagay ng mukha at pangalan nila sa mga government funded projects including documents and issuances. Tayo po ay pinapasweldo ng taumbayan, hindi po nila utang na loob sa atin ang de kalidad na serbisyo publiko. Don’t self-promote”,  Belgica added.

ARTA is mandated to monitor the compliance of agencies to R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which includes checking the agencies’ Citizen’s Charters and other government collaterals such as permits, licenses, and other issuances.

With this, ARTA continually conducts surprise inspections of government agencies to ensure that provided services are in line with the law. The ARTA czar is encouraging the public to take pictures and videos of any poor services from any government agency that is in violation of the law and the respective agency’s citizen’s charter. People may use #iARTAnaYan or send an email to complaints@arta.gov.ph to report to ARTA.