By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) yesterday launched its flagship Program NEHEMIA, which seeks to cut government processes by 52 percent within 52 weeks.
ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said NEHEMIA, which stands for the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies, is a sectoral-based streamlining effort that is directed towards speeding up and realization of the Socio-Economic Agenda of the Duterte Administration. It targets to reduce the time, cost, requirements, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significance by 52 percent within 52 weeks.
Present for the launch are key officials from the lead builders of the program – the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), ARTA, Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Development Academy of the Philippines – who will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding specifying the roles and responsibilities of each agency, among others.
“Through the reforms that will be created by Program NEHEMIA, we will be aligned with the President’s directive to eliminate ‘overregulation’ in the government,” Belgica said at the launch in Malacanang.
The sectors included in the first phase of the program are the: (1) common towers and interconnectivity sector, (2) housing sector, (3) food and pharmaceutical sector, (4) logistics sector, and the (5) energy sector.
Belgica explained that Program NEHEMIA is pursuant to Rule III Section 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11032 which mandates ARTA to adopt a whole-of-government approach in the streamlining of government services. It is also aligned with the recently released Administrative Order 23: Eliminating Overregulation to Promote Efficiency of Government Processes signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last February 21, 2020. Inter-agency reviews shall be adopted for horizontal integration or end-to-end processing in the delivery of government services.
In current practice, government agencies and their offices function independently from each other, creating redundant processes that procure the same information repeatedly but achieve minimal results.
“The Program NEHEMIA will break down the silo system and the lack of interconnection among government agencies. Our government must be a singular unit serving the country, with the citizens being our primary client,” the ARTA chief added.
The OES will be the lead coordinating agency of the program while OCS and ARTA will act as co-chairs. Meanwhile, the DICT would lead the development of the digital infrastructure for the automation of government service.