ARTA tells gov't agencies to set up official contact lines

Published August 15, 2021, 9:56 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has called on government agencies to set up official contact numbers and assign someone to answer those contacting them.

Anti-Red Tap Authority Director General Jeremiah Belgica (Photo: ARTA/Facebook)

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the statement following complaints against several agencies that cannot be contacted because their official contact information cannot be found or there was no one answering calls.

In a statement, Belgica said having official contact numbers is part of the government’s role to continue providing public assistance even amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Dapat laging mayroong on standby para asistihan ang publiko. Essentially, ‘yun naman ang trabahong dapat nating magampanan sa gobyerno (There should always be someone on standby to assist the public. Essentially, that is the job we must fulfill here in the government),” he said.

“Lalo lang bumabagal ang mga proseso kung wala man lang matawagan sa mga opisina ninyo (Having no one in your office to answer calls will just slow down the process),” he added.

Belgica said establishing contact numbers was as important as setting up Public Assistance and Complaints Desks, which were mandated under the Ease of Doing Business Act.

It was also related to ARTA’s call for government agencies to maintain their full operational output capacity amid the pandemic as some government workers used the alternative working arrangements to be inefficient in their work.

The omnibus guidelines on the implementation of community quarantine of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases stated that the government must be at full operating capacity even during the COVID-19 pandemic or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Memorandum Circular No. 87 of the Office of the President released on August 4, 2021, ordered government offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) to have at least 20 percent of their workers on-site during the two-week ECQ period in the region. The remaining workers of agencies concerned shall be under work-from-home arrangements.

However, agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, laboratory and testing services, border control, and other critical services shall be allowed to operate at full on-site capacity.