17 July 2020 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is urging the public to assert their right to a transparent and efficient government service thru a properly-implemented Citizen’s Charter, an official document that communicates, in simple terms, the information on the services provided by the government to its citizens.

More than serving as a basis for the recognition of performance, the Citizen’s Charter shall be the basis for establishing accountability in the delivery of government service. Both said purpose are stated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 201 which was signed a year ago today.

R.A. 11032 entitles the transacting public to a Citizen’s Charter that must be placed at the main entrance or at the most conspicuous or visible place in a government office. This shall be in the form of information billboards such as touchscreen information kiosks, electronic billboards, posters, tarpaulins or any other readable materials written in a manner that is easily understood by the public. The Citizen’s Charter must also be available for perusal in the form of a handbook with a soft copy uploaded to the respective websites of the government agencies.

“A Citizen’s Charter is akin to a menu in a restaurant. It is there that you can see what dishes are being served and how much. Likewise, a Citizen’s Charter is required of every government office big or small, because it reflects all the services being offered, fees to be paid, requirements needed to be submitted and most of all the processing times per services. This must be posted in the most prominent place in the entrance of every office so the people may hold the agency to those standard as listed in the Citizen’s Charter. In short, the Citizen’s Charter is the agencies’ social contract with the people,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica explained.

When transacting with government agencies, ARTA urges the public to look out for the following information on Citizen’s Charters: (a) a comprehensive and uniform checklist of requirement for each type of application or request; (b) a step-by-step procedure in obtaining a particular service; (c) person/s responsible for each step; (d) maximum time to conclude the process; (e) the document/s to be presented by you; and the (f) amount of fees that you should pay and where the payment shall be made. Lastly, the transacting public shall also be informed in the Citizen’s Charter with the (g) procedure that they could undertake to file any complaints to the agency.

For the looming July 25 deadline set for government agencies to submit their revised Citizen’s Charter, ARTA also requires that the new processes implemented and all other revisions on existing services that are being adopted in consideration of the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency be reflected in their respective Citizen’s Charter.

ARTA had since been working to ensure that all agencies are equipped with the capacity and the guidelines to properly comply with this provision of the law. With the extension of submission allowed in view of the constraints brought by the pandemic, ARTA expects nothing less of the government agencies in granting the public’s right to a Citizen’s Charter.