By Genalyn Kabiling
Government agencies providing frontline services must now respond to all public requests and concerns within 15 days, based on a new anti-red tape order of President Duterte.
The Memorandum Circular No. 44 on the processing time of government permits, licenses and other documents aims to hasten government transactions as well as promote transparency and accountability.
The circular, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on behalf of the President last May 4, takes effect immediately.
“All government agencies and instrumentalities, including government -owned or -controlled corporations performing frontline services defined in RA (Republic Act) No. 9485 are hereby directed to respond to all public requests and concerns with 15 days from receipt thereof, unless a shorter period is provided under applicable laws and issuances,” the memo read.
The memo stated that frontline services are defined as “process or transaction between clients and government offices or agencies involving applications for any privilege, right, permit, reward, license, concession, or for any modification, renewal or extension of the enumerated applications and/or requests which are acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the agency or office concerned.”
“The State shall provide the means to strengthen the people’s channel of communication to the government by promoting and emphasizing the importance of responsive and service-oriented government agencies and instrumentalities, with the objective of fostering transparency and accountability,” the memo read.
The Palace has invoked Republic Act No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 and the Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees in the latest order to government agencies.
In the memo, Medialdea said under the anti-red tape law, the State shall take appropriate measures to promote transparency in public transactions with agencies “with the objective of reducing red tape and expediting transactions in government.”
The government code of conduct, on the other hand, provides all public officials and employees to respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public within 15 working days. The reply must also contain the action taken on the request.
At the start of his term, the President vowed to put an end to long lines and extortion in obtaining government permits, licenses and other documents.
Applications at the regional director level must also be acted upon within 15 days while those at the Cabinet level must be processed within 30 days, the President previously said.