ARTA to create task force to address delays in processing of blood money claims

4 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will lead the establishment of an inter-agency task force that will oversee the streamlining of processing of blood money claims.

Blood money is the financial compensation awarded to families of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were killed outside of the country.

To date, the Authority has received no less than 10 complaints on the delays in processing of blood money claims in Saudi Arabia, with some complaints dating as far back as 2010.

In a meeting with officials from ARTA and the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), Philippine Embassy in Riyadh Third Secretary and Vice Consul Paolo Zurita identified the “unique” legal system of other countries and the lack of manpower in the embassy as some of the challenges in processing the blood money claims.

Zurita said the embassy has a backlog of at least 3,006 cases but only has one staff assigned to handle them all.

Among the agencies that will be tapped to man the IATF are DFA-OUMWA, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment-Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (DOLE-POLO), Public Attorneys Office (PAO), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and DFA-OUMWA will also facilitate a virtual conference meeting with the heirs of the blood money.

“I think it’s an excellent way to allay the fear of the heirs and also a way to show them that we are actively working on the cases,” Zurita said.

Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA director general, encouraged his fellow government officials to continue working to streamline processes for the people’s convenience.

“The first thing that government officials must understand, I do believe, is we need to keep the hopes of the people up, kasi pag ‘yon ho ang nawala sakanila na parang wala nang nagtatrabaho, wala nang pag-asa, napakahirap,” he said during the meeting.

“Sa bandang huli po, ang makikinabang po rito ay yung taong bayan, pangalawa, yung mga agencies po na would strengthen the process,” he added.

The said agencies are set to conduct another meeting later this month to iron out details on the creation of the task force.


Fixer in BIR Lipa nabbed in ARTA – CIDG entrapment ops

3 June 2021 – A man providing janitorial services to a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) branch in Lipa City, Batangas was nabbed Thursday morning due to fixing.

The suspect was identified as Jonel D. Samontañez, 26.

Initial report revealed that the suspect was arrested during an entrapment operation of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) at 9 a.m. today following a complaint referred by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

The ARTA Investigation team said the suspect, who is a building attendant under the Janitorial Services of BIR Lipa, pretended to be a member of an office in the agency that issues Certificate of Registration (COR) for business permit.

Samontañez reportedly asked for P5,000 from the undercover agent in exchange of fast issuance of COR.
He is currently undergoing the booking process before PNP-CIDG in Batangas.

Possible cases to be filed against him are violations of the Republic Act no. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, Revised Penal Code and other issuances.

ARTA Secretary Jeremiah Belgica is also mulling on issuing a Show Cause Order (SCO) against the head of BIR Lipa to explain the incident.


ARTA pushes for streamlining of Comprehensive Land Use Plan

3 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), led by Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, continued on Tuesday the discussion on streamlining the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) in line with the objective of the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies (NEHEMIA) program for the socialized housing sector.

In the meeting, ARTA tackled with key agencies the provisions for the proposed Joint Memorandum Circular that will address bottlenecks in the CLUP.

Among the attending agencies were the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and Land Registration Authority (LRA).

“Last year… we’ve already presented to the Cabinet. And the Cabinet already approved the streamlining of the process of the housing sector of the CLUP,” Belgica said during the meeting.

The ARTA czar emphasized that streamlining is the priority of the President.

“Ang priority talaga ng Pangulo is ma-streamline. Kung meron tayong mandato na masasagasaan, tignan natin paano natin maayos ng hindi naman dine-decapitate yung ating mga mandato but we could still streamline,” Belgica said.

The ARTA Director General is thankful for the support of the involved agencies in crafting the JMC for the Socialized Housing Sector.

“We are quite thankful because everybody is pushing forth and last week’s meeting was a testament kung gaano produktibo ang ating pag-uusap,” he said.

The said agencies are set for more meetings to finalize the provisions of the above-mentioned document.

Belgica said that they are targeting to have the JMC ready before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.