ARTA Sec. Belgica reminds gov’t workers to observe office hours, set up public assistance desks

7 July 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), reminded government workers to observe proper office hours to give continued service to the public.

This, after Belgica learned that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) were implementing shortened office hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

He warned that government workers who will not work for a full eight hours may face administrative sanctions.

The ARTA Director General said agencies must avoid sending home clients as there are times when they come from as far as the provinces just to avail of the government’s services.

“‘Yung mga pumapasok, dapat attended to during work hours,” he said. “‘Pag dumating sila (clients) ng working hours, kailangan ma-entertain sila ng office kahit five minutes palang nandoon.”

“Wala po talaga kaming ibang option but to implement this… kasi nasa batas po,” he added. “Kapag sinuri po ng Ombudsman o Civil Service, talagang sasabihin nila na dapat, hindi kayo aalis.”

But with the limitations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgica said agencies may set up provisions, such as online platforms, to provide continued assistance to clients.

“Magbigay nalang kayo ng provisions for the people… at least, mayroon kayong taong mag-aalalay sa kanila,” he said.

The ARTA chief also recommended the placing of additional copies of the Citizen’s Charter in other areas of the office.

He said the Authority will continue to hold discussions with the DENR to help them streamline their systems and simplify their services.

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Sec. Belgica to LGUs: Set up kiosks where public will be assisted in navigating eBOSS

6 July 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority, asked local government units to set up kiosks at their Business One-Stop Shops (BOSS) where they can assist clients in navigating their electronic BOSS platforms.

Belgica said this will be part of the transition period as people adjust to the new technology required in availing government services.

The eBOSS is a free online platform that ensures end-to-end business registration for those who wish to put up their own businesses.

The ARTA Director General said a lot of Filipinos, particularly senior citizens, are still unused to processing government transactions online, so the government must extend them some help.

“Hindi sanay ang tao sa eBOSS kasi sanay sila sa manual. Kaya kahit may online na, pumupunta pa rin sila sa city hall, kasi naghahanap sila ng makakausap. Tulungan natin sila,” he said.

The kiosk should be equipped with desktops or laptops so government workers will not rely on the client’s phones to help them navigate the eBOSS.

However, the end goal for the establishment of the eBOSS is to make doing business easy enough to do on one’s phone.

Belgica made the statement during his inspection of the eBOSS of the Pasay City government. He commended the said LGU for setting up the online platform and said the Authority will help them iron out all issues with their eBOSS.

The last day for LGUs nationwide to set up their own eBOSS platforms, as mandated by Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, was on 17 June 2021.

Since then, the ARTA has conducted inspections at the city halls of Quezon City, the City of Manila, and Pasay City.

LGUs were required to file compliance reports or letters of explanation to ARTA by 14 July 2021 or 20 days after the deadline to comply with the eBOSS directive. Non-compliant LGUs who will give insufficient explanations will face charges.

The Authority, led by Belgica, will continue to hold inspections at the local governments of Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs) in the country.

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ARTA chief Belgica commends DFA for setting up additional passport processing sites a week after inspection

6 July 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), commended the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for immediately setting up additional processing sites for passports a week after the Authority conducted an inspection at the Office of Consular Affairs in Parañaque City.

In a press conference on Monday, the DFA said they opened temporary off-site passport service (TOPS) sites in five malls in Metro Manila to help address the backlog and increasing demand for passport processing.

The said sites are seen to add an additional 177,000 passport application slots until September.

“We laud the DFA for its quick response to the issues hounding their passport processing services. Hindi mo rin sila masisi sa mga backlog na nangyari dahil talaga namang mahirap magtrabaho sa kalagitnaan ng pandemya,” Belgica said.

“Harinawa, this coming July 7, sabi magbubukas sila ng additional areas kung saan pwede mag-process, magdadagdag ng 5,000 na tao,” he added. “Hopefully, ma-resolba na rin ‘yung nangyaring backlogs dahil sa pandemya.”

Belgica, who claimed his renewed passport at DFA-OCA on Monday, also lauded the agency for putting up a Citizen’s Charter and deploying more people to assist clients.

The said changes were recommendations that he made after conducting an inspection at DFA-OCA on 28 June 2021.

The Anti-Red Tape Secretary also noted that the government workers at DFA-OCA observed the no noon break time policy because he was accommodated even when he arrived at lunch time.

During his inspection, Belgica found that a lot of people falling in line at the office could not book appointments using the DFA-OCA website. The DFA attributed the said issue to their lack of manpower brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the DFA OCA set up a “Courtesy Lane” that senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women, minors aged seven years old and below, solo parents, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and exceptional and emergency cases can access in a bid to decrease the number of people falling in line.

Those who wish to access the Courtesy Lane must first go through the Passport Appointment System at passport.gov.ph. Other requirements can be found at https://consular.dfa.gov.ph/services/passport/passport-cl.

The ARTA chief pledged to help the DFA-OCA to streamline their appointments system. The ARTA and DFA has been conducting meetings to discuss the said issues and ways forward.

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