Gov’t agencies required to act, automatically approve pending applications 

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has reminded national and local government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to approve or disapprove applications within the prescribed processing time of “3-7-20” working days, and fully implement the zero backlog policy.

During the recent virtual general membership meeting of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said they need to exercise the automatic approval of pending applications for permits, licenses, or certifications under a zero backlog policy.

“Government agencies and heads of the agencies are already required to observe the law themselves. Meaning, they should be the ones who should be declaring applications as automatically approved in fact,” he said, referring to Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services (EODB) law.

The EODB law requires all services in government to be classified as simple, complex, or highly technical and should be delivered or acted upon within the prescribed period of three, seven or 20 days, respectively.

Failing to act on applications within the prescribed processing times will render applications to be automatically deemed approved or automatically extended, as the case may be, by operation of law and may expose the government officer handling the application as well as the head of the office or agency to possible administrative sanctions or even criminal liability.

Belgica also reminded agencies that permits and licenses are privileges simply extended by the government.

“Meaning, even if they have issued a permit or a license, they could always cancel it if in its implementation and use of that permit or license, it is shown that the person issued is not using it properly or in accordance to the law,” he said.

“Yes, the head of the agencies may already exercise this and is there a way for you to exercise the provision or to use the provision of the RA 11032 without going to ARTA,” he added.

Belgica said many ARTA champions themselves are already asserting such provision of the law or going to the respective committees on anti-red tape within the government agency.

“Let us inform (you) that all government agencies today are required to have their own committees on anti-red tape or we call it CART. So the committees on anti-red tape in short will be the little ARTAs within their government agency,” he said.

“So say for example, if you already have a finding or a complaint (that) goes to ARTA, normally, we immediately endorse it to the committees on anti-red tape within the government agency and give them 20 days to report to ARTA on the actions that they have already (taken). Most of the time, we see it is not just the application that we endorsed that gets the result but the other hundreds of applications that are similar to what we have submitted to them. Yes, we could already make committees on anti-red tape and probably just copy furnished us if needed,” he added.

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