Press Release
September 29, 2020

Compel agencies to list anti-red tape pledges in national budget

President Duterte should order agencies to include in the 2021 national budget their anti-red tape pledges, "including the speed by which they will process a document," Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said today.

Recto explained that the national budget is not all numbers, as attached to every agency's proposed appropriations "is a table of performance guarantees."

"This is the so-called 'promissory note' of an agency that is part and parcel of its budget request. Under our budgeting system, the funds it will get is linked to what it should deliver," Recto said.

"On paper, there is peso-to-performance correspondence. And these deliverables become part of the General Appropriations Act. Kasama 'yan sa batas," Recto said.

Among the promises in the proposed 2021 national budget are PNP's vow to respond to distress calls within 15 minutes and the Bureau of Fire Protection's guarantee that it will be at the scene of a fire not later than 7 minutes after receiving the call.

Infrastructure spending is also linked to countable targets such DICT's plan to add 30 offices to "the number of interconnected agencies," and DOTr's target of a maximum 9 minute platform transfer time for MRT and LRT.

Social services also peg their funds to countable achievements like DOH's goal to immunize 95% of children and DepEd's promise to provide computer packages to all public schools with electricity.

But Recto said these performance guarantees should be expanded to include "ease of doing business" targets, whether the application for a document or service is done in person or online.

"Minsan kasi mabilis kung personal kang mag-a-appear sa isang opisina, kaysa sa isang request na pinadala mo through email, or through website kasi hindi naman lahat ay may easy-to-use app," Recto said.

As the bureaucracy shifts to online processing of documents, "then what should be the standards for distance transactions?" Recto said.

He said minimum processing time must also cover an agency's service to its own employees, "katulad ng pagkuha ng clearance at leave applications, kasi dapat speedy service, like charity, should begin at home."

"Maraming ahensya na ang daming requirements for employment at aabot ng minimum na tatlong buwan ang unang sweldo," Recto said.

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