ARTA orders ‘wholesale’ automatic approval of pending applications

Published February 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has ordered all government agencies, local and national, to automatically approve all pending applications in their offices before March 7, 2020 or face administrative or criminal charges in a more deliberate and game changing effort to stamp out red tape and corruption in government.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica signed ARTA Memorandum Circular No. 2020-02 on Feb. 14, 2020 that establishes the 3-7-20 day processing time under the Ease of Doing Business Law and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2018 directing all national government agencies and local government units to conduct inventory of all pending transactions that are beyond their processing time.

Under the MC No. 2020-02, government agencies are now required to act upon all aging pending applications and to automatically approve them, if the application is complete, before March 7, 2020.

“The compliance of all government offices in this Memo is seen to be a game changer and unprecedented in the national battle against red-tape,” said Belgica. “We need to make our government agencies realize that the law is here and there are no more excuses for their slow processes and inefficiencies. We have given them time and options and now, we can no longer tolerate sub-par service.”

The law took effect six months ago with the completion of its IRR where government agencies were given 3 days for simple transaction, 7 days for complex and 20 days for highly technical.

Failing to act on applications on applications within the prescribed processing times will render applications to be automatically deemed approved or automatically extended, as the case may be, by operation of law and may expose the government officer handling the application as well as the head of the office or agency to possible administrative sanctions or even criminal liability.

Previous to this “wholesale” approval of all aging pending applications, the anti-red tape agency also set a deadline last December 6, 2019 for all government agencies to submit their updated citizen charters or set of requirements to the public doing business with them like application for business permits and licenses.