Business groups on Monday called on the Office of the Ombudsman to closely work with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to continuously improve public services and correct misaligned practices of government offices.
The 32 business groups said they recognize the role of a public vanguard like ARTA and its importance in cutting cumbersome procedures and transactions in government.
“We would like to appeal to the Ombudsman to work with ARTA, so they may together give us the improvement in government services we need, and continue the upgrading that has been started so effectively,” the groups said in a joint statement.
The groups said they were concerned when the Ombudsman called for ARTA’s abolition, after a group of disgruntled people filed for its dissolution.
The case was brought before the Court of Appeals as to the role of ARTA and the Court confirmed that ARTA was operating legally, even adding that it was doing a much-needed job.
“We agree that the Ombudsman, within the wide scope of its authorities, has a role to play in improving government services, but ARTA’s primary role is to improve government services,” the groups said.
They likewise recognize the difficulty of doing business with the government which is a perennial problem for businessmen, and a disincentive to invest in the Philippines.
While much improvement is still needed to strengthen the ease of doing business, the business groups noted that ARTA delivered and continues to deliver the services expected of it in almost 3 years since it was conceived.
Businesses benefitted from faster approvals for permits, licenses, etc. which have been simplified and greatly speeded up.
The 3, 7, and 20 requirements, detailing the number of days within which approval must be granted, have revolutionized many procedures and processes from the national down to the local government units.
The 32 groups that support ARTA include Alyansa Agrikultura (AA), American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Anvil Business Club, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Cebu Business Club, Cebu Leads Foundation, Connected Women, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phils.), Filipino CEO Circle, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Fintech Alliance, Green EDSA Movement, Institute of Corporate Directors, Investment House Association of the Philippines, IT & Business Process Management Association of the Philippines, Inc.,
Justice Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, Microfinance Council of the Philippines, People Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation – Go Negosyo, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
Philippine Council of Associations and Association of Executives, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., Philippine Retailers Association, Procurement and Supply Institute of Asia and the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc.