10 things to know re the ANTI-RED TAPE LAW

"It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right." (Gladstone) Transparency therefore is one of the few weapons of citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. This indeed is complementary to what the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 wants to achieve. (Atty. Roberto P. Cabrera III)

1. The law applies to all government offices including local government units and governmentowned and controlled corporations that provide frontline services. Agencies performing judicial, quasi-judicial and legislative function are excluded from the coverage of the Act but their frontline services are deemed included.

Frontline service refers to the process or transaction between clients and government officers involving applications for any privilege, right, permit, reward, license, concession, or for any modification, renewal or extension of the enumerated applications and/or requests.

2. The law limits the number of signatures of official employees directly supervising the evaluation, approval or disapproval of the frontline service (request, application or transaction) to a maximum of five (5) signatures.

3. The law requires all government offices to draw up a Citizen’s Charter which identifies the frontline services offered, step by step procedures, the employee responsible for each step, the amount of fees, the documents to be presented by the client and the procedure for filing complaints in relation to request and applications.

4. The Citizen’s Charter must be posted as information billboards at the main entrance or most conspicuous place and in published materials.

5. The law defines "fixer" as any individual whether or not officially involved in the operation of a government office that has access to people working therein and whether or not in collusion with them, facilitates speedy completion of transaction for pecuniary gain or any advantage or consideration.

6. All application/request for frontline services shall be acted upon not longer than five (5) working days for simple and ten (10) working days for complex transaction.

7. Denial of request for access to government service shall be fully explained in writing, stating the name of the person making the denial and the grounds for denial.

8. Public assistance desk should be set up in all offices and shall be attended to even during break-time. All officers and employees transacting with the public should wear an ID or name plate or other means of identification.

9. If a government agency fails to act on an application/request for renewal of a license, permit or authority subject for renewal within the prescribed period, said permit shall automatically be extended until a decision is rendered on an application for renewal. No automatic extension however shall apply to an expired permit or license or to permits/license which cover activities that pose danger to public health, public safety, public morals or public policy.

10. CSC shall conduct a survey of government agencies to check on the existence and effectiveness of the Citizen’s Charter. CSC shall publicize the results in an annual report card survey and furnish the government agency concerned the result assessment, evaluation and/or observations.