GMA Signs Anti-Red Tape Bill; New Law Seeks to Prevent Graft, Impose Stiff Penalties

Article excerpt

Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING

President Arroyo has signed Republic Act No. 9485, a law that seeks to cut bureaucratic red tape, prevent graft and corruption, and impose stiff penalties on violators, Malacanang said yesterday.

RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, signed last June 2, adopts simplified measures to expedite transactions in all government agencies, including local government units and government-owned and-controlled corporations.

The new law requires government offices to adopt fixed deadlines for the completion of transactions and regularly assess and upgrade their frontline services. It also makes heads of government agencies, accountable to the public in rendering fast, efficient, convenient, and reliable services.

"Towards this end, the State shall maintain honesty and responsibility among its public officials and employees, and shall take appropriate measures to promote transparency in each agency with regard to the manner of transacting with the public," the law read.

The passage of the anti-red tape law comes amid international surveys showing the foreign perception of the Philippines as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Surveys have shown a high level of concern that the unnecessary complexity of procedures and delay in implementing them have created rolls of red tape in the country.

Under RA 9485, government agencies are required to work on any application for any privilege, right, permit, reward, license, concession, or for any modification, renewal or extension within five working days in simple transactions and 10 working days in complex cases.

The number of signatories in any document will be limited to a maximum of five signatures, which represent officers supervising the office.

Any denial of application shall be fully explained in writing to the client within five working days from receipt of request.

If an agency fails to act on an application or request for renewal of permit, license, or authority, these shall automatically be extended until a decision or resolution is rendered on the application for renewal. …