ARTA, PACC sign pact vs corruption, red tape

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) have forged a deal to strengthen the government's fight against red tape and corruption.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica (PNA / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), signed on Wednesday by brothers Jeremiah and Greco Belgica, stated that ARTA and PACC agreed to align and integrate their functions, coordination, and cooperation in handling complaints and reports of violations.

According to the PACC chairman, the signing of the MOA was a much-anticipated partnership that puts the two agencies at the forefront of the war against corruption. "This agreement is a big step forward in developing and strengthening the anti-corruption campaign of the President and in achieving the administration's goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in the government," Belgica said.

ARTA Director-General Belgica, meanwhile, noted that red tape and corruption can never be separated from one another, explaining the need for the two agencies to unite to address these perennial problems that hinder the country from moving forward.

"Dahil sa red tape, humahaba ang pila, bumabagal ang proseso, at higit sa lahat nagkakaroon ng oportunidad para sa korapsyon (Because of red tape, the lines are getting longer and the process is getting slower. It also becomes an opportunity for corruption)," he said.

The two agencies are expected to endorse cases to one another if they fall under their jurisdiction.

Cases to be referred to PACC are violations committed by the covered presidential appointees against the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the unlawful acquisition of property by a public officer or employee, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, among others.

Meanwhile, ARTA will take cases on violations of the Ease of Doing Business Act committed by any public official or employee.

The MOA states that ARTA and the PACC can hold joint audit or investigation on complaints raised before their respective offices provided that they arise "from a common act or omission, incident, or case."

PACC Chairman Belgica said his agency and ARTA will intensify the fight against corruption and recommend to President Duterte stiffer penalties on erring officials in government.