LGUs, agen­cies urged to cut red tape amid ECQ

Business World - - Front Page -

GOVERN­MENT AGEN­CIES, in­clud­ing lo­cal govern­ment units (LGUs), are be­ing urged to sim­plify and stream­line pro­ce­dures and re­quire­ments as the coun­try is un­der a state of na­tional emer­gency due to the coro­n­avirus dis­ease 2019 (COVID -19) out­break.

In an ad­vi­sory re­leased on Wed­nes­day, the Anti-Red Tape Au­thor­ity (ARTA) iden­ti­fied sev­eral mea­sures that all govern­ment agen­cies can im­ple­ment to speed up the de­liv­ery of govern­ment ser­vices.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte on Wed­nes­day signed a law that granted him emer­gency pow­ers to deal with the COVID-19 pan­demic, and placed the coun­try un­der a state of na­tional emer­gency for three months un­less ex­tended.

ARTA rec­om­mended the “emer­gency” ex­ten­sion of the va­lid­ity of per­mits, li­censes and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions that are ex­pir­ing, es­pe­cially those whose ap­pli­ca­tions for re­newal or ex­ten­sion may not be filed dur­ing the Lu­zon-wide en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine (ECQ).

It also said agen­cies may also con­sider ac­cept­ing and ap­prov­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and re­ports through e-mail and online plat­forms, on the con­di­tion that there are se­cu­rity mea­sures in place.

“Fur­ther, it is sug­gested that these trans­ac­tions be sub­jected to post-au­dits when able,” it added.

ARTA said that agen­cies may also con­sider sus­pend­ing the no­ta­riza­tion re­quire­ment for doc­u­ments, not­ing that the sub­mis­sion of false doc­u­ments, no­ta­rized or oth­er­wise, is pun­ish­able by law.

Govern­ment agen­cies may also process in­com­plete ap­pli­ca­tions that may be com­pleted “when con­di­tions nor­mal­ize,” ARTA said. These in­clude us­ing elec­tron­i­cally signed or pre-signed li­censes and au­tho­riza­tions and us­ing al­ter­nate sig­na­to­ries when the au­tho­rized signatory is on of­fi­cial busi­ness or leave.

Pay­ments may also be pro­cessed online or through out­sourced pay­ment col­lec­tion cen­ters. ARTA said that agen­cies should con­sider waiv­ing or de­fer­ring pay­ments if the said options are not pos­si­ble.

ARTA also en­cour­aged agen­cies to sub­mit copies of reg­u­la­tions to the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines — Office of Na­tional Ad­min­is­tra­tive Reg­is­ter elec­tron­i­cally to give le­gal ef­fect to their is­suances.

The ad­vi­sory is a re­sponse to Mr. Duterte’s call to cut red tape in a na­tional ad­dress on Tuesday, ARTA said in a state­ment.

“We would like to re­mind all agen­cies to adopt a zero red-tape pol­icy, es­pe­cially in this emer­gency sit­u­a­tion dur­ing which

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