ARTA Director General Secretary Ernesto V. Perez talks about the ease of doing business during the PIA press conference on Friday, September 29 at the PIA Office in Quezon City - Photo by Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Friday (Sept. 29) assured that there will be a substantial improvement in the internet speed before the end of the year.

In a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) hosted by PIA Director General Undersecretary Jose A. Torres, Jr., Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Secretary Ernesto V. Perez said that “Before the end of the year, makikita na po natin ang substantial improvement duon sa internet speed.”

The ARTA is under the Office of the President (OP) which spearheads the implementation of “Ease of Doing Business.”

“Four years in operations, we have made milestones to promote bureaucratic efficiency in all government agencies, to streamline and digitalize operations,” Perez said.

Republic No. 11032, otherwise known as the “Ease of Doing Business & Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2018”, created the ARTA.

Section 17 of RA 11032 provides for the creation of the ARTA to monitor and ensure compliance with the national policy on anti-red tape and ease of doing business in the country.

“Lahat ng transactions, processes should be acted upon within three to 7 working days, if unacted upon, the reasons should be explained,” Perez said.

During the Anniversary of ARTA, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said that “In just five years, the men and women of ARTA have definitely proven that change in the way we serve in government is possible.”

“It is possible to do things now to empower the improvement of processes and make transactions easier and more convenient for our clients, the Filipino,” Marcos added.

The ARTA is working towards the timely execution and implementation of Investments, Energy and Infrastructure Flagship Projects.

The Department of Industry (DTI) has requested the ARTA to draft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on streamlining and digitalization of government agencies.

Executive Order No. 41 wherein the Local Government Units are urged to suspend or discontinue the collection of fees such as but not limited to sticker fees, discharging fees, delivery fees, market fees, toll fees, entry fees or mayor’s permit or fees.

Otherwise, administrative or criminal charges will be filed against violators of Executive Order No. 41.

Perez cited the launching of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Training Workbook co-developed with the United Kingdom government in August 2023, practically, with no financial cost with the Philippine government.

The Tradenet is a system linking the Philippines to the ASEAN Single Window which shall improve the facilitation of the Philippines within the region.

“With the Philippine Business Hub, before it takes a month, but now a maximum of three days, the certificate of business registration is completed online,” Perez said.

“With the Electronic Business One Stop Shops (EBOSS), in Metro Manila, only 8 LGUs have complied, Valenzuela City done in 30 minutes, Marikina City done in 30 minutes, Navotas City done in 20 minutes, Lapu Lapu, Cagayan de Oro done in 1.5 hours to one day,” he added.

“Dati kasi ay prohibition under the joint memorandum circular (JMC) between the DILG and the ARTA, with the Executive Order 41 issued by PBBM, if they (LGUs) violate, they will be subjected to investigation,” Perez said.

“Within 30 working days from the effectivity of EO 41, we (ARTA) will draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs) of EO 41,” he added.

“Ang nakikita ko ay administrative liability, even criminal liability. Pwede kang (LGU) matanggal sa serbisyo,” Perez said.

“Even the Local Government Code provides that it’s illegal to impose How can you legalize something that is illegal,” he added.  

According to Perez, there was a P21 billion increase in revenue collections because of the EBOSS.

In the Citizen’s Charter compliance status as of August 2023, Perez said, 10,716 out of 11,268 agencies and LGUs or 94.95 percent have submitted their citizen’s charter.

It is required for all government agencies to be published in their respective websites. If those agencies do not comply with the requirements of the law, they will be subjected to administrative sanctions.  

“May conviction na po. Wala po sa presentation kung ilan na po ang conviction at anong cases ang nafile,” Perez said.

“Natanggalan po kami ng Confidential Intelligence Fund (CIF). Mahirap po ang entrapment operations kung walang CIF. If it will be fully restored, the entrapment operations will be pursued,” he added.

“P10 million last year ang CIF. Third tranche ng CIF, hindi po namin naubos. We returned P2 million. Nagrequest ng P10 million for CIF for 2024,” Perez said.

“Ang hindrance sa amin ay wala kaming ‘marked money” to be used for entrapment operations,” he added.

The ARTA has eight regional offices, the operations of which, are affected by budgetary constraints, however, sponsors in the House of Representatives have committed to help the ARTA to augment their budget.

It was highlighted that 8888 Citizens Complaint Center where the ARTA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on February 21, 2023.

“A total of 16,099 complaints received from 2018 to August 2023, usually yung ‘delay’ o di sinasagot. The moment na hindi sila sinasagot, kasunod nyon ay imbestigasyon na,” Perez said.

Out of the said figure, “a total of 15,898 complaints were resolved/referred or a closure rate of 98.75 percent hindi na nga po umabot sa husgado. Even if the law says that the complaint has been resolved, the complainant can still pursue it,” he added.

“Kaya nga po dapat hindi lamang reminder, kapag may tinanggap silang reklamo, dapat umaksyon na sila. Kapag alam nila na may ARTA, umaaksyon na sila,” Perez said. 

With the private sector, the ARTA also partnered with the private sector such as with the Aboitiz Group, specifically the “PinasBilis” and with the MERALCO Group.

“Marami pa pong di nakakaalam ng ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and the ARTA. No issue with corruption. When you do something good, people will like you,” Perez said.

“If you do something good, you have nothing to hide,” he added. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.