Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) officer-in-charge Ernesto V. Perez announced Wednesday plans to act on the streamlining and digitalization directives by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Among the plans that President Marcos bared in his SONA include the acceleration of digitalization in the country through the automation of government processes and passage of the E-Governance Act, the streamlining of tax payment processes, the implementation of the national rightsizing program, and the strengthening of the country’s health sector through the establishment of institutions and procurement of sufficient medicines.
“We are happy that, consistent with his promises before he became President, streamlining and digitalization remain to be President Marcos’ priorities for his administration. With more public servants recognizing the Philippines’ massive problem with excessively bureaucratic practices, we gain more allies in the fight against red tape,” Perez said.
He said the ARTA is ready to assist the government in reviewing the functions of government agencies to ensure there are no redundancies and overlapping regulations, under the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
The agency earlier expressed willingness to help other government agencies to transition toward digitalizing their services.
Perez also noted how the President emphasized the need for the government to continuously innovate and digitize its processes and records to keep up with rapidly evolving technology.
“We are entering an age of exponential adoption of technology. It is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The scale and the speed at which these innovations are introduced universally into our everyday lives and activities is unprecedented in our recorded history. We cannot stand idly by,” he said.
Connectivity and Telecommunications are among the 5 priority sectors in ARTA’s flagship National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies (NEHEMIA) Program.
Under this effort, ARTA has launched 3 Joint Memorandum Circulars (JMCs) that streamlined the guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure (PTTIs), erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts, and installation of aerial and underground cables and facilities.
With this, the number of permits needed were reduced from 13 to eight, documentary requirements from 86 to 15, and length of time for processing from 241 to 16 days.
The said reforms also led to a surge of released permits in the telecommunications sector. The Authority released least 68,711 permits for 3 major telecommunications companies in December 2021.