Thursday, January 28, 2021

ARTA Czar: LTFRB, FDA, LRA Need To ‘Shape Up’

ARTA Czar: LTFRB, FDA, LRA Need To ‘Shape Up’

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) must “shape up” after they were named the most “problematic” government agencies, the anti-red tape czar said.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) director general Jeremiah Belgica revealed that since he assumed the post on July 9, he found that the LTFRB, FDA, and the LRA are the top three red tape-ridden offices that still need to improve the delivery of their public services.

“So these three agencies po, nakatutok po kami sa kanila. We saw the problem sa kanila that’s why tinutukan namin sila (So we are continually monitoring these three agencies. We saw the problem in them so we have to focus on them),” Belgica told Palace reporters in a weekly economic briefing.

“Well, totoo, nakita talaga natin na (it’s true, we really saw it that) they really need to shape up because there’s really red tape inside these agencies,” he said.

The LRA is among the five “most complained” government agencies identified by President Rodrigo Duterte during his fourth State of the Nation Address delivered on July 22.

The four other agencies that have the highest number of public complaints are the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Social Security System (SSS), and Land Transportation Office (LTO), and Pag-IBIG.

The LTFRB and the FDA, meantime, are the two agencies the ARTA is also monitoring, despite their non-inclusion in the roster of most complained government agencies, Belgica said.

Belgica was dismayed by the sluggish performance of the LTFRB, the FDA, and the LRA, amid the President’s commitment to improve and expedite government service.

He also threatened to file a case against the three agencies if they fail to show improvement.

“Medyo kailangan nilang pagbutihin ang kanilang pagre-reporma dahil kung hindi po, mapipilitan po talaga ang ARTA na manghimasok and even file cases kung ayaw nilang sumunod. (They have to improve when it comes to implementing reforms because if not, the ARTA will be forced to take appropriate action and even file cases, if they don’t follow),” the ARTA chief said.

“No excuses. And if you would have any excuses from henceforth, we would take your Citizen’s Charter as an admission na ayaw niyong sumunod (that you do not want to follow). And we will be filing cases against you,” he added.

4 agencies improving

Meantime, Belgica acknowledged the efforts of four government agencies with the most number of complaints to reduce bureaucracy since his office met with them on August 9.

He noted that the LTO is among the four agencies with improved delivery of services.

“Going back to the five most complained agencies, this I could say: Three or almost four of them are actually reform-minded ang kanilang leaders. Nakikita po namin na (are actually led by reform-minded leaders. We are noticing that) from 100 percent complaints from 2018, we have actually lowered it down already to about 15 percent,” Belgica said.

“At makikita mo po ‘yung trajectory ng mga agency na ito ay talagang maganda po ang kanilang mga improvement. (And we can see that these agencies’ trajectory of improvement). I would just name, for example, the LTO. Makikita natin na (We noticed) they automate the payment system and I think two months ago, they did hit their PHP1 billion automated collections. Ibig sabihin walang (Meaning they have no) fixers,” he added.

The ARTA, however, still needs to monitor the five most complained agencies, despite their improved services, Belgica said.

Belgica added that his office is expecting the BIR, SSS LRA, LTO, and Pag-IBIG to cut red tape by 2020.

“We are continually monitoring the reforms that are being undertaken by the five most complained agencies,” he said.

“And with the reform-minded leadership by some of the heads, we are almost certain na masasaid po ang lahat ng mga complaints na nakabinbin po sa kanila (that they can address all the complaints they are receiving),” he added.

Other ‘much worse’ agencies

In the same press briefing, Belgica admitted that there are some government agencies that do not often receive complaints, but could be “much worse” than the five most complained agencies.

Belgica warned other state offices not to rejoice, as they are not yet off the hook just because they have not been identified by the President as among the top red tape-ridden government agencies.

“Now, we might be comparing apples and oranges. Bakit? Kasi kung ang isang ahensya (Why? Because if an agency) is processing 100,000 applications a month and they get about 500 complaints, they are much better off than an agency that processes 5,000 and gets four hundred complaints,” he said.

“There are other much worse agencies that are not in the five [most complained agencies]. So ang sinasabi namin, huwag kayong mag-bunyi kasi wala kayo sa lima. Kaya po makikita natin, ‘yung number ng processing time, ‘yung tagal ng kanilang processes, isa ‘yun sa nagco-contribute kung bakit sila masasama doon sa listahan ng red tape-ridden. (So what we’re saying is don’t celebrate yet because you’re not one of the five most complained agencies. The number of slow processing also contributes to their possible inclusion in the list of red tape-ridden agencies),” he added. (PNA)

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