26 December 2019 – In his recent speech during the closing ceremony of the National ROTC Summit and 1st Presidential Silent Drill Competition last Friday, December 20, President Rodrigo Duterte yet again reiterated his directive to expedite government transactions. To quote the President, “And I’m warning again the bureaucracy. Dito man ang mga secretary, madali man nila. I do not want papers to be acted by days. I want it by hours”.

In relation to this pronouncement, he had previously directed government agencies to have all pending government transactions acted on by December 15, 2019. The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) then issued Memorandum Circular No. 2019-003 on November 26, 2019, signed by Director General Jeremiah Belgica and Deputy Director General Ernesto Perez, directing all government offices and agencies in the Executive Department to submit the list of all their pending government contracts to the Authority on or before December 9 of this year.

As per the Compliance, Monitoring and Evaluation Office (CMEO) of ARTA, 21 government agencies and two local government units have complied with the memorandum circular, the list of pending government contracts of which will be submitted by ARTA to the Office of the President today.

Further, according to ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica, “The President’s pronouncement that he wants government services to be delivered in hours is what the Citizen’s Charter provision of R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 seeks to accomplish”. The Citizen’s Charter provides that services offered by government offices and agencies shall be bound to a predetermined processing time period.

ARTA had been strict in implementing the December 6 deadline set by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 11032 for government agencies to submit their revised Citizen’s Charter. Under their revised Citizen’s Charter, government agencies were also required to classify their services into simple, complex, and highly-technical transactions which R.A. 11032 specifies shall be acted upon within three, seven, and 20 working days, respectively.

As of 26 December 2019, 1699 out of 4364 government agencies have submitted their revised Citizen’s Charter to ARTA. Of this 1699 agencies, 1175 are national government agencies (NGA), 314 are local government units, 95 are water districts, 64 are state universities and colleges, 22 are government -owned and -controlled corporations, while 29 are those classified as NGA/GOCCs.

The agencies who failed to comply with the submission deadline of the Citizen’s Charter and to act on pending contracts may face administrative charges, ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica warned.

For the meantime, the CMEO is continuously reviewing the agency charters submitted to see if they comply with the guidelines issued previously by the Authority.

In the same speech referenced earlier, the President pronounced that his administration “will remain unrelenting in its mission to realize a comfortable life for all Filipinos”. Director General Belgica assured that ARTA will be the lead hand of the administration in doing so by speeding up and simplifying government services and processes.