Missing visa extension receipt at BI irked ARTA

Published March 3, 2021, 10:25 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has called out the Bureau of Immigration for failing to process a vita extension application due to missing receipt, among other violations of the agency.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica chanced upon the BI modus operandi during his surprise inspection at the BI premises. Belgica has been conducting surprise inspections in various government offices to personally witness if these agencies are implementing the anti-red tape rules.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (PIA NCR / MANILA BULLETIN)

During the inspection last Friday, Feb. 26, Belgica chanced upon a foreign applicant, who claimed to have completed the requirements for the extension of his tourist visa, returning to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for the sixth time due to his lost receipt during his last Friday’s inspection at the said agency. 

According to the foreigner, he was already finished processing his application to extend his stay in the country. However, the BI withheld the release of his extended tourist visa as he failed to present his receipt. 

The situation did not sit well with the anti-red tape czar, who could not believe that BI has no copy of the receipt.

Bewildered, Belgica urged government agencies to ensure copies of receipts in their files.

“Yung resibo daw, hinihingi sa kanya, yung previous payments. E sabi ko, kung resibo, diba may kopya sila dapat sa loob non? Kung may kopya sila non, dapat hindi na nila hihingin sa tao,” said Belgica.

But Catalino Alfonso, supervising assessing officer at the BI, said that they have all records for all those seeking visa extension. He  then assigned a BI personnel to assist the visa applicant.

Prior to this, Belgica already called the attention of BI for the signs posted in some counters stating that there is a cutoff time for transactions. BI officials, however,  clarified that they still accept applications beyond the supposed cutoff but the releasing will be done the next day already. Nevertheless, the ARTA czar still directed the agency to remove the signages to avoid confusion.

Belgica also checked on the agency’s Citizen’s Charter, which he referred as the “list against abuses.”

In relation to this, Belgica reminded other government agencies which are yet to submit their Citizen’s Charter to ARTA to comply.

He said that 20 percent of government agencies have not yet submitted their revised Citizen’s Charter despite extensions to previous deadline. 

ARTA will soon submit the list of non-compliant agencies to the Ombudsman for appropriate charges. 

ARTA has been conducting a series of inspections in various government agencies to monitor compliance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery law.