By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Government agencies engaged in highly technical analysis in order to come up with a decision on business application are exempted from the required processing time under Republic Act 11032 or the East of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services, which is due for implementation as soon as its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) shall have been promulgated.
Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) officer in charge Ernesto V. Perez stressed this during the “final” public hearing for the law’s final IRR (http://arta.gov.ph/pages/IRR.html), which would be submitted to the Office of the President for promulgation by the ARTA Director General.
Those performing judicial and legislative functions are excluded from the coverage of the Act, however, their respective frontline and administrative services are deemed included. Section 3, Rule 7 also provides for the suspension of prescribed processing time for processes that involve multiple stages which require research, field trials, scientific methodology or tests.
The explicit exclusion in the IRR of certain agencies is critical because Section 1, Rule 2 of the draft IRR, stipulates that all government offices and agencies including local government units, government owned or controlled corporations with or without original charter, and other government, instrumentalities, located in the Philippines or abroad, that provide services covering business-related and non-business transactions are covered under this anti-red tape and corruption law.
Perez explained that these exclusions are made possible because the EODB Law is a general law and those agencies that cannot meet the required deadlines to approve or disapprove a business application are created through special laws. There was no list though of government agencies that could be exempted.
“The special law will prevail over the general law. These agencies will just have to inform ARTA and ARTA will make an exemption,” said Perez.
An ARTA order exempting these agencies is also critical because the law is also explicit in the allowable period that a business application and requests. Failure to implement the provision carries corresponding penalties and liabilities.
RA 11032, which amends RA 9485 otherwise known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, and other Purposes, is government’s main tool by which to improve the country’s ease of doing business, eliminate red tape and corruption in government offices.
As such, Section 3, Rule 8 of the IRR provides that all applications or requests for government service submitted shall be acted upon by the assigned officer or employee within the prescribed processing time stated in the Citizen’s Charter which shall not be longer than 3 working days in the case of simple transactions and 7 working days in the case of complex transaction from the date of the request or complete application or request was received.
For applications or requests involving activities which pose danger to public health, public safety, public morals, public policy, and highly technical transactions, the prescribed processing time shall in in no case be longer than 20 working days or as determined by the government agency or instrumentality concerned, whichever is shorter.
The maximum period for the processing, approval, renewal, and or extension of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications or authorizations for the installation and operation of telecommunication, broadcast towers, facilities, equipment and service by the barangay, LGUs and NGAs shall be 7 working days each. The maximum can be extended only once for the same period, provided, the appropriate notices referred to in Rule 8 of these Rules are given to the applicant or requestor prior to the lapse of the original period.
Section 4, Rule 8 of the IRR stipulates allows the ARTA to give an order for the automatic approval, renewal, extension of license, clearance, permit, certification, or authorization not acted upon within the prescribed processing time. The number of signatories in any documents shall be limited to a maximum of three.
The law is severe with its punishment for government officer who failed to follow its provisions with administrative, civil and criminal charges. A violator faces 6 months suspension on first offense. On second, he faces 1 to 6 years of imprisonment, dismissal from service, including perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits. The offender also faces administrative, criminal, civil or other related charges under existing laws.