By Chino S. Leyco
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged government agencies to consciously put people — clients and workers alike — at the center of their frontline services to further the ease of doing business and government service delivery.
In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that citizens and businesses appreciate it when frontline service providers care about providing what their clients came for as fast as they can, and by all ways and means.
According to NEDA’s impact evaluation study on the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007, individuals and businesses availing of government frontline services have become more satisfied with how they are served.
This satisfaction is attributed to how fast agencies act on their requests and when transactions are successful.
RA 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 effectively amends ARTA, which seeks to promote ease of doing business in the country by cutting red tape in government agencies that delay the delivery of responsive services.
The law addresses priority #3 of the 0-10 point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte administration and Chapter 5 of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, which aims to speed up processing time, simplify procedures and make government transactions hassle-free in order to improve competitiveness in the country.
Results of the study also showed that clients are more satisfied when service delivery standards such as the Citizen’s Charter and no-noon-break policy are adhered to, and when agencies innovate in their delivery mechanisms, such as using automated queuing systems or ensuring adequate staff serving during high traffic hours.
Conversely, the evaluation revealed that clients are most dissatisfied when they pay hidden costs, i.e., extra requirements/costs that are not specified in the Charter or under-the-table payments.
“In making service delivery standards for frontline service, agencies must be helpful, agile, evidence-based, reliable and transparent. By doing frontline services right, we help people and businesses succeed,” Pernia added.
The study further recommends to make ARTA the standard for ideal service to individuals and businesses by encouraging government agencies to create their own agency-level initiatives and strategies and invest in innovation that can improve services and minimize corruption.
A strategic framework must also be developed to ensure that the higher-level outcomes of the EODB Law are articulated with these efforts.
For its part, the Anti-Red Tape Authority has pledged to work closely with NEDA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through an action plan, which will enlist agencies’ commitments to ensure that the recommendations are adopted.
Through the 2018 Strategic Monitoring and Evaluation Fund being managed by NEDA-Monitoring and Evaluation Staff and the UNDP, the NEDA-Governance Staff commissioned a study to evaluate the implementation of ARTA.
The results of the study will serve as inputs to the long-term strategic plan of the ARTA and implementation of the EODB law. Once completed, the full report is set to be launched during the M&E Forum in November 2019.