Dominador Awiten .
THE Anti-Red Tape Law (Arta) has been with us since 2007, and in 2017 it was enhanced as the Ease of Doing Business / Efficient Delivery of Government Services Law.
In the 10 years in between, the potential of the Arta is yet to be fulfilled. Very noticeable is the fact that to-date the persistent annoyance in government offices is the presence of fixers in the vicinity.
Fixing may, in the future, become redundant and of no further use to the customer when there is full automation of the processes in government service, such as what is now positively obtaining in the processing of passports or in the giving of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance.
A helpful aspect of automated processing is allowing the first work step to be done at home, the personal information or data upload.
The improvements under the new law should transform the public perception of the bureaucracy from being an inevitable inconvenience in order to nurture a worthwhile partnership with the customer for the public good.
The basic guideline now is there should be no physical interaction and no conversation or zero contact. Contact is done only at the stage of preliminary assessment of the sufficiency of the requirements submitted by the customer. The customer waits at the Collecting Officer workstep for call for payment, while the transaction is under process.
There is a provision in the law on automatic extension if the office fails to act on the application until a decision or resolution is rendered. The situation may arise in case of a complex transaction that necessitates a resolution of a complicated issue or in case of a highly technical transaction that may require the use of technical knowledge, specialized skills or training.
In the fine-tuning of the implementing rules and regulations, certain improvements are important.
First is the engagement of stakeholders in the drafting of the IRR. Thus, there is the observation that there was lack of customization in the formulation of the citizen’s charter of the various agencies and offices. There was merely a copying of the template and the exercise was more like copy-paste.
Further, the vigilance and support from the public cannot be shrugged off with flippancy. Customers should have the attitude of being interested stakeholders, with legitimate interest in a particular service from government. As in a court litigation, they are “real parties in interest.”
Thus, there can only be an effective criminal prosecution of a fixer when there is forthcoming the testimony of the offended party.
At the start of the incumbent administration, a proposal was submitted to the chief of the Land Transportation Office that in the registration of motor vehicles, there may be no need for inspection of the motor vehicle.
The motor vehicle law does not provide for inspection in the motor vehicle registration process. What is provided in the law is the authority of the LTO to conduct a vehicle inspection as an integral aspect of traffic law enforcement.
In foreign jurisdiction, such as in California from which State the Philippine law was patterned, registration of a motor vehicle only involves the submission of the documents to the department of motor vehicles and payment of the prescribed fees is done in a bank or on-line. Renewal of registration may also be performed by a private service provider licensed by the DMV.
Doing away with inspection in the registration process may not only make it quick and easy for the registering motor vehicle operator, it may also remove an occasion for grease.
Moreover, for government to perform inspection as if it is its legal duty is to assume the ill-advised role of being a guarantor of the motor vehicle’s roadworthiness, a responsibility that should be borne by the motor vehicle owner themselves.