Gov't moves to address complaints within 72 hours

The Marcos administration has taken its quest to remove red tape in the bureaucracy to the next level after the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the 8888 Citizens Complaint Center (CCC) signed an agreement to harmonize the agencies' complaints and public feedback mechanism to ensure prompt action and resolution.

Photo from the Anti-Red Tape Authority

This developed after the two agencies inked today a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

In a statement, ARTA said the signing of the MOA came after the 8888 CCC sought its help in enforcing mandatory compliance to the agency's 72-hour prescribed turnaround time, a window provided for complained government agencies, local government units, and employees to respond or give an explanation.

"With the signing of the MOA, the 8888 CCC is now empowered to serve as a formal complainant to ARTA against unresponsive government institutions," ARTA said.

Failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time violates the Ease of Doing Business Act, which is punishable by six months suspension for the first offense and dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service for the second offense.

This will prompt ARTA to issue a warning notice to erring agencies, initiate an investigation or file necessary cases to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Office of the Ombudsman, and other appropriate courts.

The signing was headed by Executive Secretary (ES) Lucas Bersamin, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra, ARTA Secretary Ernesto Perez, Strategic Action and Response Office (StaR) Undersecretary Rogelio Peig II, ARTA Undersecretary for Legal Geneses Abot, and 8888 CCC Director IV Bernadette Casinabe.

In his speech, Bersamin lauded ARTA and its joint effort with the 8888 CCC to eliminate bureaucratic red tape continuously. 

"The President is really in removing red tape in the bureaucracy.  And I expect that this one will be the first of more MOUs to happen with ARTA and other relevant agencies of the government," he said.

Perez then ensured the collaboration with 8888 CCC and other government agencies in implementing the Ease of Doing Business Law. 

"Not only there will be a delineation of functions between the 8888 Complaints Center and the ARTA, it really gave more teeth to the enforcement of the programs and initiatives of ARTA under the supervision of the Office of the President," he said. 

Perez likewise renewed ARTA's commitment to continuing anti-red tape and ease-of-doing business programs under President Marcos' push for an interconnected and efficient bureaucracy.