5 June 2021 – A cashier at the Register of Deeds of Davao City was formally charged by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) after the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) filed a complaint against her for neglect of duty.
In her seven-page decision dated 13 April 2021, Atty. Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada, CSC Commissioner, charged Soleta T. Taleon for violation of Section 21(f) of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
Lizada said Taleon committed neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The case stemmed from an administrative complaint filed by ARTA on 17 September 2019.
On 30 August 2019, ARTA officials, including Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, conducted an on-the-spot inspection at the Register of Deeds of Davao City.
This, after the Authority received numerous complaints on the slow delivery of services at the said office.
During the inspection, ARTA officials noticed that Taleon left her post and placed a notice at her station that she is on lunch break. It was also noted that the cashier did not have a reliever. This is a violation of the No Noon Break Policy indicated in R.A. No. 11032.
The Authority sent Taleon a Notice to Explain on 4 September 2019.
In her explanation dated 11 September 2019, the cashier said that she does not have a reliever because of the stringent bond requirements for the position. She said they have requested for an alternate cashier and have begun accepting applications for the position, but they have yet to see anyone qualify.
Taleon also appealed for her to be allowed a few minutes to eat her lunch. She said she did not use up the one-hour lunch break as she had to quickly return to her post to attend to the clients.
But ARTA said she cannot be given this exemption.
“Apropos is the maxim duralex, sedlex, or the law may be harsh but it is the law. A careful reading of Section 21 (f) will show that the law did not contemplate any exemption as such, neither can this Honorable Commission admit of such exemption. Verily, this is the very essence of public service,” the Authority said in its complaint.
Taleon was given 10 days to submit her answer in writing and under oath. She was also advised to indicate if she wanted a formal investigation of the charges against her. She was also informed of her right to be assisted by a counsel of her choice.
The CSC Regional Office XI in Davao City was also ordered to conduct a formal investigation on the matter and submit a report after 15 days.
ARTA to join key agencies in drafting JAO on online discounts for seniors, PWDs
7 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will join key agencies in crafting uniform guidelines for the online privileges for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
This, after Atty. Victor Dimagiba, president of Laban Konsyumer, Inc., filed a complaint against the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) for their alleged inaction with earlier commitments to draft guidelines for online discounts for senior citizens and PWDs.
In the inter-agency meeting with ARTA, it was agreed that the DSWD will lead the drafting of a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on the issue because the concerns of senior citizens and PWDs are under its mandate.
In his complaint to ARTA, Dimagiba said most senior citizens and PWDs have turned to online shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic so they can safely purchase food, medicine, and other necessities.
However, they are not able to claim their privileges granted by law because most merchants do not know what and how to grant them their discounts.
The DTI made it clear that senior citizens and PWDs should still be able to avail their discounts when buying necessities and prime commodities online.
The DSWD is expected to consolidate comments of concerned agencies on the JAO on or before 15 June 2021 prior to the intended consultation meeting with stakeholders before the end of June.
ARTA to resume surprise inspections at LGUs, NGAs
8 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will resume its surprise inspections at local government units and national government agencies to ensure that all processes are streamlined for the people’s convenience.
Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, director general of ARTA, said they assess the processes of the agencies, offices, and bureaus that they visit and give them recommendations as how to strengthen their streamlining efforts.
The surprise inspections are also a way to catch government workers or officials who commit violations of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, he said over an interview with Radyo Pilipinas on Monday.
ARTA recently filed complaints against four Register of Deeds officials who were found to be implementing cut-off schemes and other ease of doing business violations during surprise inspections before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The said inspections will be done as the Authority marks its third anniversary this month.
Belgica said the Authority made rounds at all of the business one-stop shops (BOSS) set up by LGUs in Metro Manila in January 2021.
He reminded LGUs that they only have until 17 June 2021 to automate their transactions by putting up electronic business one-stop shops (eBOSS).
Meanwhile, ARTA also checks on national government agencies and their attached agencies that are now required to issue secondary licenses to integrate with the Central Business Portal as provided by Section 13 of R.A. No. 11032.
Belgica told government offices that to effectively comply with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s order to simplify and streamline processes, they must coordinate with each other.
“Mahirap mag-deal with the government ‘pag hindi nag-uusap,” he said. “‘Pag hindi natin pinagtagpi-tagpi ang ating mga proseso, we do not see it in the perspective, the POV ng taong bayan.”
“Malaking bagay na ang Pangulo mismo ang nagsabi na pasimplehin ang mga proseso dahil ang streamlining ngayon ay hindi na optional, kung hindi kailangan na talaga siyang gawin,” he added.