8 March 2022 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) officially launched the Memorandum Circular (MC) on the Zero Backlog Report during the culminating activity of its weeklong 3-7-20 event.

The said event began last 28 February 2022 and carried the theme “Zero Backlog Policy, Paigtingin! 3-7-20, Laging Sundin!”

Undersecretary Ernesto V. Perez, Deputy Director General for Operations, said the 3-7-20 Memorandum Circular aims to reiterate MC No. 2020-02, which ARTA released two years ago, directing all government agencies to conduct an inventory of all pending transactions.

Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 classifies government transactions and sets the prescribed processing time for each of the three categories: three days processing time for simple transactions, seven days for complex transactions, and 20 days for highly technical transactions.

The law also states that if an application or request that was submitted with complete requirements and full payment is not acted upon within the prescribed processing time, it will be deemed automatically approved or renewed.

“If a government agency fails to classify its transactions, our interpretation at ARTA is to classify it all as simple transactions,” Usec. Perez said during his presentation.

Earlier, Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, ARTA Director General, said agencies could avoid accumulating backlogs, or applications and requests that are not acted upon within the prescribed processing time, by complying with the 3-7-20 policy.

The new issuance also aims to provide guidelines on the automatic approval and automatic extension of license, clearance, permit, certification, and authorization.

ARTA has crafted a template for the submission of Zero Backlog Reports that all government agencies are required to submit every year on March 7, which is the annual 3-7-20 Day.

Government agencies can submit their reports at https://tinyurl.com/ZeroBacklogProgram.

ARTA will also be conducting random monitoring of government agencies to ensure that all are compliant with the said rule.

The said issuance was adopted and endorsed by the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape (EODB-ART) Advisory Council during its 18th Council Meeting on 23 February 2022.

ARTA Sec. Belgica stressed that the new issuance does not mean that government agencies must approve all applications and requests that are lodged before them, rather that they should act on them within the prescribed processing time.

“There is a wrong notion and understanding that this rule mandates government agencies to automatically approve all applications and requests filed before them. We are simply pushing government agencies to act on all the applications lodged at their offices so that they can avoid accumulating backlogs,” the ARTA chief said.

“I have said that a denied application is better than an application that is sat upon because that means that it is in a bureaucratic limbo,” he added.

ARTA Sec. Belgica also thanked government agencies that have cooperated with ARTA and complied with the 3-7-20 prescribed processing time and Zero Backlog Policy. He said the Authority wields its dual functions of empowerment and enforcement in ensuring that government agencies are compliant with the said provisions of R.A. 11032.

“We are happy and we are really grateful kasi nakikita natin na kinakailangan lang talaga magtulungan at kailangan makita nila kung paano… 99 percent of the time, sumusunod naman sila,” he said.

During the weeklong celebration of the 3-7-20 event, the agency held the Kapihan sa ARTA to inform the media about the prescribed processing time and Zero Backlog Policy.

It also conducted one-on-one interviews with its priority government agencies to hear about their catch up plans for the Zero Backlog Program.

The Authority also launched its newest public service show titled “I-ARTA NA ‘YAN!” which is aired at Radyo Pilipinas stations nationwide every Wednesday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is streamed live on the Facebook pages of the ARTA, People’s Television (PTV) and Presidential Communication Operations Office. The show can also be watched through a delayed telecast at PTV 4 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.