OP, ARTA agree to go after unresponsive gov’t offices

OP, ARTA agree to go after unresponsive gov’t offices

MANILA – The Office of the President (OP) has partnered with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to hold accountable government agencies that fail to act on complaints or concerns lodged through the 8888 Citizens Complaint Center (CCC).

In a ceremony held at Malacañan Palace’s Premier Guest House on Wednesday, ARTA Director General Secretary Ernesto Perez and Strategic Action and Response Office Undersecretary Rogelio Peig II signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to set up a mechanism to ensure prompt action and resolution of government offices on the public’s concerns or requests.

The signing was witnessed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra, ARTA Undersecretary for Legal Geneses Abot, and 8888 CCC Director Bernadette Casinabe, based on a video shared by state-run Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) on its official Facebook page.

“Inked between the Office of the President’s 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center and ARTA, the MOA will provide a mechanism to hold erring public officials accountable for failing to perform what is being required of them,” the RTVM said.

“The 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center will act as the complainant whereby government agencies will be given 72 hours to respond,” it added.

Failure to respond within 72 hours will prompt ARTA to issue a notice of warning to erring agencies, initiate an investigation, or file necessary charges before the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Office of the Ombudsman, and other appropriate courts.

The agreement came after 8888 CCC sought ARTA’s help in enforcing the mandatory compliance with the 72-hour prescribed turnaround time, a window provided for government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and employees to respond or provide an explanation to public concerns.

Peig expressed hope that with the signing of the MOA, all government offices would be mindful of their duty to serve the public and provide “prompt and efficient” delivery of services.

He said the MOA between the OP and the ARTA would serve as a “subtle warning that irresponsibility and indifference can be costly to them.”

“The MOA sets up a mechanism to swiftly make erring public officer accountable for their nonfeasance or their failure to perform what is required of them,” Peig said during the signing.

Citizens may lodge their complaint, concern, or request to 8888 through calls, text messages, and 8888 website.

A complaint, concern, or request lodged through any of the communication channels will be referred by the 8888 CCC to the appropriate agency within 32 minutes and should be given concrete and specific action within 72 hours from receipt of the complaint, concern, or request by the proper government agency, government instrumentality, or LGU.

Under Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time is considered a violation.

Those who violate the law may be punished with six months’ suspension for the first offense and dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service for the second offense.

Perez assured collaboration with 8888 CCC and other government agencies in implementing RA 11032.

“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 also vowed to continue ARTA’s anti-red tape and ease of doing business programs, in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s bid for an interconnected and efficient bureaucracy.

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

“The President is really hell-bent on removing red tape, delays in the bureaucracy. And I expect that this one will be the first of more (MOAs) to happen between you and the other relevant agencies of the government,” Bersamin said. (PNA)

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