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Anti-red tape agency to take complaints by text, social media

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THE Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, were signed in Pasay City yesterday, defining the role of a key ant-red tape body that was only recently staffed and authorizing it to take complaints by text and social media.

Lawyer Jeremiah B. Belgica, the recently-appointed Director-General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), was one of the signatories, said the IRR will be published this week and will take effect within 15 days.

ARTA is tasked with investigating all complaints under the law, which sets deadlines for government agencies to complete transactions varying by their complexity.

Mr. Belgica, speaking at the news conference after the signing, said ARTA is authorized to receive complaints from the public in multiple formats, including text messages, a call to the ARTA hotline, and social media posts, as long as the complainant provides his or her identity and contact details, as well as details of the agency and transaction in question and evidence, as warranted.

Following the initial complaint, ARTA will investigate and decide on whether a formal complaint can proceed, with each agency having the right to answer. If the explanation is deemed insufficient, a final complaint will be filed.

The law requires government offices to process simple transactions within three days, complex transactions within seven days, and highly-technical transactions within 20 days.

Violators must answer to complaints to be filed before the Civil Service Commission (CSC) or various courts. The law prescribes sanctions that include suspension up to and including dismissal from the service and forfeiture of benefits, depending on the seriousness of the offense and repeat violations.

“We could file a case with the civil service, with the ombudsman and other appropriate courts. Pwede din ho kaming mag-file din ho ‘ng (We could also file) reports and complaints (to the) Office of the President and other administrative agencies that that specific person actually belongs to,” Mr. Belgica added.

He listed the complaint channels as the ARTA website, the 8888 hotline, ARTA’s Facebook page, and the CSC contact center, which can be reached at 0908-881-6565. ARTA is also planning to launch the 1-ARTA hotline by next month.

ARTA said certain transactions that are subject to longer processing periods by international treaty are exempt from the deadlines imposed by the law.

“We respect international treaties, agreements…Republic Act 11032 is a general law so that if it is in conflict with a special law, then the special law will govern,” said lawyer Ernesto V. Perez, ARTA’s Deputy Director General. — Katrina T. Mina

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