Fixer who offered illegal services to ARTA official arrested

15 June 2021 – A fixer who offered his illegal services to a top Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) official at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Headquarters in Quezon City was arrested on Tuesday.

After receiving reports from the Authority, elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Regional Field Unit-National Capital Region arrested a certain Randy Albor outside LTO’s gate in an entrapment operation.

Prior to this, ARTA conducted surveillance operations outside the LTO Headquarters to verify the complaints they receive about fixers in the area.

Upon confirmation, Undersecretary Bgen. Carlos Quita, Ret., Deputy Director General for Administration and Finance, volunteered to renew his license to lead the fixers in an entrapment operation.

Quita posed as a broker when he went to the LTO to get his licensed renewed. Albor then offered his services. The deputy director general said they breezed through the medical examination. Even more surprising, his overpriced license was made inside the LTO Headquarters.

Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA Director General, trooped to the said office and placed posters at the cafeteria outside LTO, that is said to be a hotspot for fixers, and at the LTO Headquarters’ Public Assistance Area to remind the public that fixing should not be tolerated.

“Nakikiusap din ako, actually, sa mga taong bayan. Huwag po natin kunsintehin ang mga fixers kasi ang korapsyon is a two-way street, eh,” he said in an interview.

“Sitahin niyo, paalisin ninyo kung mayroong ganyan, otherwise, madadamay sila,” he added.

LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante echoed the ARTA czar’s sentiment and asked the Authority to turn over Quita’s license to verify if it is legitimate.

Galvante said it would be difficult for fixers to copy the numerous security features in a legitimate driver’s license.

In relation to this, he warned those patronizing fixers that a fake driver’s license does not have any benefit to them.

“Anong tulong na maibibigay sakanila ng isang fake na license? Wala silang ano ron, ‘di ba, walang benefit na makukuha ron,” he said.

He also said that, although the office is not at full capacity in terms of workforce, there is no need for fixers because they can address the need of everyone going to LTO.

For his part, Belgica reminded the public to use the Citizen’s Charter posted at various government agencies as a guide for their transactions.

He also reminded them of the 3-7-20 rule: Three days processing time for simple transactions, seven days for complex transactions, and 20 days for highly technical transactions.

Albor will be charged for violation of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. He is now under custody of the CIDG. He will be undergoing inquest proceedings on Wednesday, 16 June 2021.

LTO committed to conducting further investigations on the incident. ARTA will also conduct its own probe.


ARTA czar Belgica seeks DOH probe on FDA drug center chief

15 June 2021 – After going to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has now turned to the Department of Health (DOH) asking it to conduct its own probe against an official of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who allegedly sat on hundreds of drug applications for Automatic Renewal (AR) with some pending since 2013.

In his letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, ARTA Secretary Jeremiah Belgica noted the prima facie case the Authority found against FDA Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR) Jesusa Joyce Cirunay.

He attached his letter with copies of the Disposition and Complaint-Affidavit which ARTA filed against Cirunay before the Ombudsman last week. The said documents encapsulated a total of 420 counts of violations of Section 21 (e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11032, otherwise known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018,” for failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time resulting from her response to the May 11 Show Cause Order issued by ARTA.

“In this regard…the Authority respectfully recommends that an investigation be conducted against her (Cirunay) for possible violations of R.A. No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” and R.A. No. 3019, otherwise known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Belgica told Duque.

The ARTA czar also encouraged the DOH to look into other appropriate laws against Cirunay that may be deemed proper based on the Authority’s investigation.

With this, Belgica hopes for the “usual prompt and favorable action” of the Health chief on the matter.

Under R.A. No. 9711 or the law which renamed the former Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to FDA, the latter shall be under the Office of the Secretary of the DOH and the Center Directors shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health.

Meanwhile, ARTA will also refer the case to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission for lifestlye check.


ARTA kicks off third anniversary celebration with leadership talk

14 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) formally launched its celebration of its third anniversary on Monday with a leadership talk and messages from the top officials of the agency.

The anniversary celebration carried the theme “ARTA: Tatlong Taon ng Tren ng Reporma, TARA NA!”

Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, who delivered a message during the kick-off celebration, reminded the agency’s employees to look back on the Authority’s accomplishments, as well as its losses.

All these will help them become better public servants, Belgica said.

“These coming few months, let this celebration be a reminder of our victories and also our challenges and we’ll look back and say ‘Nakayanan nga natin ‘yung mga panahon na ‘yon!” he said.

“Nagse-celebrate tayo ng three years at marami pa tayong kailangan gawin,” he added.

The director general also told ARTA employees to continue fighting against red tape.

This, as the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is soon coming to an end.

Belgica said the Authority is laying the foundation of the campaign against the government’s old and bureaucratic systems for future administrations.

He likened ARTA’s efforts to a bank deposit that future generations can access.

Lastly, the ARTA czar told the Authority’s employees to be brave in the remaining months of his term as they continue the battle against red tape.

“You didn’t ask for me, I didn’t ask for you, but we’re here and we’re doing good, we’re doing well,” he said.

“As long na mayroon po tayong pinaglalaban at mayroon po tayong Panginoon na pinagtutungtungan, tuloy ang laban,” he added.

Motivational speaker Anthony N. Pangilinan also delivered a leadership talk as part of ARTA’s anniversary festivities.

In his talk, Pangilinan said a more meaningful way to be of service to others and the self can be achieved through acceptance, self awareness, focus, and by acting with heart and hand.

Pangilinan also said that to be a good leader, one has to be open to various perspectives.

“All the views are correct and the one who sees all the views will be the one to lead everybody else,” he said.

Meanwhile, those who frequently complain are the ones who contribute the least to the organization.

“The top complainers are always the least producers,” he said. “The more I complain, the least work I do, because I become part of the problem and not the solution.”

Also present during the program was Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Greco B. Belgica.