Importance of the Citizen’s Charter and respect for the automation of permit / license systems


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On the last day of 2021, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) released a list of government agencies that had not yet submitted their updated Citizen’s Charter, in accordance with Republic Law (RA) 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, 2018.” The list, which was published in The Manila Times and our official website and social media accounts, included those from national government agencies, local government units, river basin districts, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and hospitals. The full list can be found here: https://arta.gov.ph/about/citizens-charter/. last, we also reminded the barangay (villages) to comply with the provisions of RA 11032.

This came after numerous reminders from the authority and the issuance of the President’s Office Memorandum Order 57 which ordered the submission of a Citizen’s Charter and compliance with the automation of permit and licensing systems. company by December 17, 2021.

But what is the Citizen’s Charter and why is it important in government services?

The Citizen’s Charter is an information board that contains relevant information about the services offered in state offices. This includes the requirements, processing time, and costs for each service. All government agencies, LGUs and other government institutions are mandated to display their Citizen’s Charter in prominent places in their government offices, as shown in RA 11032. I have always compared the Citizen’s Charter to a menu in a restaurant that you use to check what dishes are on offer and how much you have to pay to get them.

Each government office’s Citizen’s Charter can be seen as its standard of service, from its most basic and subordinate to the most technical. This is why this information display board benefits both the public transacting and government employees and officials. Honest members of the public can use the Citizen’s Charter as their best weapon and basis when they experience a delay in processing their documents or when their requests are denied despite having submitted full requirements. In turn, honest employees and officials in government offices can also use it as a basis for denying requests or requests whose requirements are incomplete. Without the Citizen’s Charter, nor any clear reference to the services provided by office, any government service is susceptible to abuse. As the agency mandated to oversee the national policy of rationalization and ease of doing business, we consider it a great injustice when the delivery of government services is delayed even when the public carrying out the transaction has followed all necessary steps and submitted complete requirements. In a broader sense, ARTA’s effort to push all offices to have up-to-date and accessible Citizen’s Charters, and to comply with them, is our way of ensuring that justice is served to the public, until ” to the most vulnerable, during transactions with government offices. I would like to stress once again to my fellow officials that time is the greatest good we can offer our compatriots.

I remember how, in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the government employees who sit on the nominations and demands they receive and advises on repeatedly to those who deal with them to return to the office. He also called on the public carrying out the transactions to be more assertive by demanding better services from the government. “[We need] make every public servant sensitive to the needs of the people and urge every Filipino to assert their right to demand a ‘malasakit’ from their leaders until everyone lives with dignity – well fed, educated , healthy, safe, disciplined and empowered – to contribute to national development, ”the president said.

This is why the Duterte Authority and Administration take the submission of the Citizen’s Charter from every government office seriously. Indeed, the filing of the Citizen’s Charter is also a factor in granting the performance bonus to administrations.

We believe that all national government agencies, LGUs, river basin districts, SUCs, hospitals and barangays should start taking it seriously as well. The publication of the list of non-compliant agencies is our final warning to those who have not yet submitted their Citizen’s Charter.

Government employees and officials who willfully ignore the importance of the Citizen’s Charter should not be surprised when action is taken against them.

We also call on the public to maximize the use of the Citizen’s Charter. While we have seen an increase in awareness of this tool among our ARTA volunteers and our private sector “champions”, we continually encourage the general public to use it. This information panel will be useful in emphasizing the validity of their requests to government offices. While there is a Bill of Rights that protects life, liberty, and property from government abuse, there is also the Citizen’s Charter that protects us from transactional abuse. The Citizen’s Charter is valid only to the extent that it is known and used by the Filipino public.

We thank those government agencies that have complied with RA 11032 or made serious efforts to streamline their processes. We also extend our thanks to the public who share our vision for a better government and country, and of course, to our transformational leader, President Duterte, who initiated these revolutionary reforms in the first place. For this reason, we are committed to continuing to serve Filipinos.

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Milton S. Rodgers