29 September 2021 – At least three lawmakers are pushing for the increase in the Anti-Red Tape Authority’s (ARTA) budget during the budget deliberations on House Bill No. 10153 or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for next year at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Deputy Speakers Bernadette Hererra-Dy and Jose “Lito” Atienza manifested for an increase in ARTA’s budget. This was seconded by House Minority Leader Joseph Paduano.

This, as the House solons terminated the Period of Sponsorship and Debate for the Authority’s proposed P241,124,000 budget in 2022 in less than three minutes. No interpellations were made during the said period.

Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, ARTA Director General, expressed his great gratitude for the House leaders.

“We thank the House leaders for their manifestation to increase ARTA’s budget. Hindi na nga kami tinanong, gusto pa kaming dagdagan. Maraming salamat po. This tells us that our work at the Authority is vital to improve government services and make living easier and more comfortable for the Filipino people,” he said.

“Rest assured to our lawmakers that we will use the momentum that we have set in our first few years of operation to continue our efforts toward transforming the Philippine government into a clean, just, highly-efficient, technology-enabled, and people-centered one through streamlining, reengineering, and automation of processes,” he added.

The ARTA chief also thanked Davao De Oro Second Distict Representative Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, the Authority’s budget sponsor; Speaker Lord Allan Velasco; and Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Partylist Rep. Eric Yap, chair of the House appropriations committee.

Belgica expressed hope that ARTA’s proposed budget will also get approved without a hitch at next month’s Senate budget hearing.

For two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ARTA has been operating without capital outlay.

In its budget proposal, the Authority included a wish list worth around P100 million.

This will be used to purchase equipment and get additional manpower for the operationalization of the ARTA office and eight regional field offices and the launch of a strategic communication campaign to advocate ARTA’s initiatives and engage various sectors for a more holistic approach to public service.

ARTA’s spending plan will next undergo the Period of Amendments.

After this, the Lower House of the Congress will proceed with its second reading and vote via viva voce.