18 November 2021- Around 30 multi-sectoral organizations from all over the country signed a Memorandum of Understanding to serve as volunteers of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Tuesday, 16 November 2021.
The Authority entered into the partnership with the volunteers “to intensify its Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Drive by engaging the support and participation of the community and the multi-sectoral groups as partners and volunteers in the implementation of the EODB initiatives and programs in the regional and local levels.”
Representatives of the 30 groups signed the MOU with Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA Director General, during the Nationwide ARTA Volunteers Training Program.
Under the MOU, ARTA volunteers will provide assistance and operational support in the agency’s various projects and programs.
They shall also help in the conduct of the Community Development and Organization within the identified local government units to ensure the full cooperation of its members in the implementation of the plans, programs, and activities while aiming for sustainability.
In return, ARTA will conduct trainings and other development learning activities to capacitate the volunteers.
Prior to the MOU signing, the volunteers underwent training where top ARTA officials provided primers on Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery of 2018, R.A. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the duties and responsibilities of ARTA volunteers.
Participants of the training attended both on-site and online.
Sec. Belgica lauded the ARTA volunteers for devoting themselves to being of service to the Filipino people and the country.
“I really do believe that the real people that make a difference are volunteers… kahit taong gobyerno ka, dapat ibilang mo pa rin ang sarili mo bilang volunteer because the work entails will and sacrifice. Binibigay mo ang iyong sarili sa isang dakilang adhikain,” he said.
“Hindi ho natin kinakailangan ng isang katutak na tao. We only need the right people to work for the right cause. Kailangan lang ng paniniwala na kayang labanan ang mga dambuhalang problema sa ating lipunan kung gagawin nang tama at mananalig sa Panginoon,” he continued.
“We must work out of conviction, out of deep belief that things can change despite the odds. Sometimes, the odds are stacked against us, but it doesn’t matter because we will still do it,” he added.
The ARTA chief also urged the volunteers to push back on all forms of red tape and corruption even when they do not have positions in government.
“Matatapos din po ang termino namin pero ‘yung problema ng red tape, ng korapsyon, magtutuloy-tuloy po ‘yan, magpapahirap po ‘yan. Kailangan niyo pong ituloy ang laban,” he said. “Push back because that’s the only way that abusers in government cannot continue what they are doing,” he said.
“Do we expect for them to push back? Yes, but don’t be intimidated kasi ang mga duwag, walang lugar dito sa samahan natin. We really do not need a position. We only need to know our rights. We only need to know that we are empowered enough to do it,” he added.
In his keynote message, senatorial candidate and former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Greco Belgica echoed this statement and emphasized the need for volunteers to work together to combat corruption and red tape.
“Napakahalaga po ng gawaing ito. Marami ang natatakot isiwalat ang katotohanan subalit kung matatakot po tayo, hindi magi-improve at walang magbabago sa ating bansa. Kung tayo’y magsasama-sama at magsusumikap, aasenso po ang ating bayan,” he said.
Undersecretary BGen. Carlos F. Quita, Ret., Deputy Director General for Finance, Administration, and Special Programs, also called on the volunteers to instill and live by the Filipino culture of “bayanihan.”
“Ang ating motibasyon lang po dito ay magserbisyo sa bayan…upang tanggalin ang red tape at mapaganda ang serbisyo ng gobyerno para sa ating mga mamamayan,” he said.
“Pagkatapos ng MOU signing, ibigay niyo po ‘yung full commitment ninyo. Importante po ‘yan para magampanan natin ‘yung kani-kanilang goal: magbigay ng impormasyon, rekomendasyon, at aksyunan ang mga dapat aksyunan sa baba,” he told the volunteers.