28 January 2022 – Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), lauded the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) for making the seaman’s book free for new applicants for the rest of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term.

The two agencies also cut the renewal fee of the seaman’s book by half. The discount will be valid until December 2022.

A seaman’s book is a comprehensive document similar to a passport that contains a seafarer’s personal information, and the details of where, when, how, and which vessel they have served on. It is a standardized requirement for the profession.

“We thank the Department of Transportation and MARINA for this initiative. This is one of the many ways that the government can lower the cost of doing business in the country,” ARTA Sec. Belgica said.

The ARTA chief also thanked the two government agencies for its efforts to streamline and automate its processes.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the DOTr and MARINA to streamline and remove red tape from their processes. We at ARTA are always ready to support them in any of their streamlining needs,” he said.

“As I have always said, the problem of red tape requires a whole-of-nation approach. Each one of us has a part to play in the fight against red tape and we must play it well,” he added.

Officials of the Authority recently held a meeting with various government agencies, including MARINA, on the issues surrounding Matnog Port in Sorsogon.

During the meeting, it was agreed upon that ARTA will initiate talks on the adoption of an online booking system that is seen to lessen regulatory burdens that the public are facing.

The agency will also draft a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) that will include provisions on opening a one-stop shop at Matnog Port, bundling of fees, and implementing the no-entry without confirmed online booking policy. It will also tackle payment of fees of local government units and coast guard concerns.

ARTA has also been conducting investigations at the said port after receiving various complaints on fixing and other forms of red tape being experienced by those passing the area.