By Genalyn Kabiling
The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has started to deploy “mystery shoppers” to various government agencies to check their compliance with the country’s law on ease of doing business.
These mystery shoppers would apply for permits and other documents in state agencies, as well as local government offices, to test the efficiency in the delivery of government service, according to ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica.
“Marami tayo na mystery shoppers na umaaligid sa mga government agencies [We have many mystery shoppers in government agencies],” Belgica said in a Facebook post over the weekend.
“Ibig sabihin mga kasamahan sa ARTA ay pinag-aapply natin ng mga permit at ng mga application doon sa notorious na ahensiya at local government offices para makita natin kung tumatalima sila sa requirements sa batas [It means our people in ARTA have been asked to apply for permits and other applications especially in notorious agencies and local government offices to determine if they are complying with the requirements of the law],” he said.
He explained that some government officials claimed they have fast processing of transactions but upon checking by ARTA, this was not at all true. He noted that some agencies still have slow processing of transactions.
“Kapag check sa on the ground, kulang na lang tubuan ka ng ugat doon hindi pa tapos [When checked on the ground, you’ve almost grown roots waiting for your application to be processed],” he said.
“Galit pa ‘yun mga tao na ‘yun na kausap mo. Mainit pa ulo na para bang may utang na loob ka sa kanila. Nalilimutan yata nila na kaming mga taong gobyerno ay empleyado ninyo. Kung ung walang ang taumbayan, mas lalo walang gobyerno [The persons you’re talking to are angry as if you owe them a debt of gratitude. They forget that we are all workers in government. If there are no people, there is no government],” he added.
The latest intensified anti-red tape campaign came following President Duterte’s renewed resolve to fight corruption and improve service delivery during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Duterte said much has to be done in ensuring the government’s responsive to the people’s needs even after he signed Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act. The law seeks to reduce processing time of government transactions as well as mandates local government units to establish a one-stop shop to facilitate such transactions.
Belgica said government agencies are mandated to act simple transitions within three days, complex transitions in seven days, and highly technical transactions in 20 days.
Violators can face suspension for the first offense, and dismissal of service with imprisonment and payment of fine for the second offense.