Dealing with Government Agencies | The Manila Times
Over the years, Filipinos have experienced a daily nightmare in the form of red tape and government inefficiency. Bureaucracy refers to any regulation, rule or procedure or administrative system that is inefficient or detrimental to the achievement of intended goals and, therefore, produces slow, suboptimal and undesirable social results. There are many causes of bureaucracy, but one of its major causes is the silo system in government. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, siled systems are part of a business, organization, or system that does not communicate, understand, or function well with other parts. These lead to redundant processes and requirements, backdoor processes, uncoordinated planning, duplication of functions, and limited data sharing, among others.
Several studies have shown that cutting red tape and implementing regulatory reform are necessary to achieve real progress in the Philippines. In a 2010 study, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that despite national reforms, progress can be hampered by poor regulation or poor enforcement at the sub-national level. They said this after it was found that local government units in the Philippines exercise a great deal of independence within their jurisdiction and face resource and capacity constraints, which adds to the complexity of the business environment and the regulatory regime in the Philippines. The OECD further stated that there is a strong body of evidence linking regulatory reduction reforms to positive economic outcomes.
An unfortunate conclusion to the cycle of bureaucracy and corruption is how members of the public can participate. In this regard, the public can be both a victim and an intermediary when participating in the cycle by engaging the services of repairers. We must remember that corruption is a two-way street. Fixers will no longer exist if there is no demand for them. So we must remember not to pay the price of compromise. Engaging the illegal services of repairers may be a temporary relief in document processing, but will result in the overall destruction of the system and the profession.
But how to stop the cycle? There are three things you need to know and do: First, you need to establish your position based on ethics and values. Second, know your rights and remedies. And finally, assert and use your rights. For the first part, you have to know how to negotiate. Negotiation is about reaching a compromise acceptable to both parties. A rule of thumb before trading is to know your non-negotiables, your set of core values and those that are not open to debate or modification. Political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi once said, “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on simple fundamentals is surrender. For all is give and take.”
The next step after understanding your fundamentals is knowing your rights. Before dealing with government agencies, the public should be aware of a landmark and groundbreaking law from the Duterte administration, namely Republic Act 11032, or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery Act”. of government services of 2018″. This law, which I have discussed at length in my previous columns, aims to streamline the current systems and procedures of government departments. This law also created the Anti-Bureaucracy Authority (ARTA).
Armed with your fundamentals and your rights, you can now systematically engage with other government agencies about your transactions. I have prepared an eight step guide that you can use in this endeavor. The guide is as follows:
- Access the agency’s Citizen’s Charter published in its office, through its website, or through the anti-bureaucracy electronic management information system (Artemis) at citizencharter.gov.ph.
- Comply with all documentation requirements and pay all fees listed in the Citizen’s Charter.
- Expect action within the prescribed processing time.
- Claim the application after the prescribed processing time. (Note: The agency may request and notify you of an equivalent extension for the same period.)
- If no action has been taken, respectfully remind the office of the complete submission and time frame.
- If no action has been taken, contact the agency’s public assistance and claims office for assistance.
- If no action has been taken, send a simple letter addressed to the head of the office where the request is pending. Attach proof of completed filing and the relevant part of the Citizen’s Charter. Also mention the responsibility of the office manager as set out in RA 11032. Provide a copy to the agency or office anti-bureaucracy committee (ARTC).
- Finally, if no action is taken to address your concern, file a complaint directly with ARTA, the Public Service Commission-Ng Bayan Contact Center or the Office of the Ombudsman.
Let me end with a verse from Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who can do infinitely more than anything we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the Church through Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”