By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday reiterated his call for the government to eliminate red tape and fast track the delivery of services to the public as the country races against time to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Gatchalian said the national government should relax the requirements on COVID-19 related protocols to expedite the delivery of relief and services to the public.
The national government should also tap local government units (LGUs) to help make it work because complex bureaucratic procedures hamper the delivery of aid to communities that need them most.
“The virus is spreading fast across our country making major damage in our health, livelihood, and economy. Therefore, we in the government should move the delivery of our services to our kababayans faster than the virus,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said he fears red tape will eventually kill Filipinos and not the COVID-19 virus, that is why government should act fast, relax the rules and tap LGUs to act fast.
“Ang tulong na kailangang ibigay sa mga nangangailangang pamilya at komunidad ay ngayon na at hindi na pwedeng paghintayin pa, (The needs of the families and communities should be met and they shouldn’t tarry),” he pointed out.
“Sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon kasi ngayon, double-whammy ito sa ating mga Pilipino. Hindi lamang tayo dumaranas ng krisis pangkalusugan, ang red tape sa gobyerno ay isang malaking krisis din, (Under our current situation, this is going to be double-whammy for us Filipinos. We’re not the only ones going through a health crisis, the red tape in government is also a big crisis),” Gatchalian added.
For one, Gatchalian said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should expedite the assistance package for the affected workers in private establishments.
He said the problem is that the package can only be released in two weeks once all the application of beneficiaries are received at the regional offices. Aside from that, employers are also required to submit their COVID-19 precautionary measure reports.
Gatchalian said the government can also utilize the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is a standby fund for relief, recovery, reconstruction, and other works or services in times of disasters, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies.
But according to the senator, LGUs have to meet a long list of requirements before they get to utilize the funds.
On the other hand, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has yet to release calamity and quick response funds.
Gatchalian reminded that the Anti-Red Authority (ARTA) has recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-03 to extend the deadline of submission of the Citizen’s Charter and to suspend the processing times in the delivery of government services in Luzon area in light of the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine.