Director General Belgica inspecting the Bureau of Immigration’s services

2 March 2021 – Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica is urging government agencies to ensure copies of receipts in their files.

This, after the ARTA czar chanced upon a foreign applicant, who claimed to have completed the requirements for the extension of his tourist visa, returning to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for the sixth time due to his lost receipt during his last Friday’s inspection at the said agency.

According to the foreigner, he was already finished processing his application to extend his stay in the country. However, the BI withheld the release of his extended tourist visa as he failed to present his receipt.

The situation did not sit well with Director General Belgica. “Yung resibo daw, hinihingi sa kanya, yung previous payments. E sabi ko, kung resibo, diba may kopya sila dapat sa loob non? Kung may kopya sila non, dapat hindi na nila hihingin sa tao,” said the ARTA chief.

Catalino Alfonso, supervising assessing officer at the BI, explained the tourist visa of the applicant was good until that date only requiring him to look for a copy of the valid latest extension of his visa anew.

“If there is no records Sir meron po kaming MISD sa taas. Lahat po ng extension namin nakikita po sa taas. Kukuha lang po siya ng kopya ng valid extension then you show it to them so that they would implement your visa”, explained the assessing officer. He then assigned a BI personnel to assist the visa applicant.

Prior to this, Director General Belgica called the attention of BI for the signs posted in some counters stating that there is a cutoff time for the transactions. But officials from the bureau clarified that they still accept applications beyond the supposed cut-off but the releasing will be done the next day already. Nevertheless, the ARTA czar still directed the agency to remove the signages to avoid confusion.

Director General Belgica also checked on the agency’s Citizen’s Charter, which he referred as the “listahan na panglaban ninyo sa abuso”.

In connection, he reminded other government agencies who are yet to submit their Citizen’s Charter to ARTA to comply: “Ako’y nananawagan ngayon sa ilang mga ahensya. Iilan na lamang no, siguro  mga 20 percent ang hindi pa nakakasumite sa ARTA ng kanilang revised Citizen’s Charter. Pag hindi sila nag- submit, wala na ho kaming choice kundi ipasa na ho sa Ombudsman ang mga pangalan nila”.

ARTA has been conducting a series of inspections in various government agencies to monitor compliance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Law.

Watch: ARTA’s surprise inspection at the Bureau of Immigration