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Business groups back ARTA against calls for abolition

BUSINESS organizations said they do not support the Ombudsman’s proposal to abolish the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), saying that the agency is needed to help improve government services.

In a joint statement on Monday, 32 business groups said the abolition proposal was a matter of concern, adding that “the Ombudsman and the ARTA complement each other’s functions; both should be working together.”

In September, Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires urged Senators to abolish ARTA and repeal the law that created the agency.

According to Mr. Martires, Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, which created the ARTA, “encroaches” upon the powers of the Ombudsman.

The business groups said ARTA has delivered on its mandate to make transactions with government more seamless.

“Approvals for permits, licenses, etc. have been simplified and greatly speeded up. The 3, 7, 20 requirement, detailing the number of days within which approval must be granted, has seen many provincial government agencies and local governments introduce procedures to attain this swift attainment of approval,” they said.

“We would like to appeal to the Ombudsman to work with the ARTA, so they may together give us the improvement in government services we need, and continue the upgrading that has been started so effectively,” they added.

ARTA Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Ernesto V. Perez said that the agency has no intention of encroaching on the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Mr. Perez added that the ARTA has contacted the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) for clarification.

“While we continue to advocate for the efficiency of government service delivery, we welcome the collaboration with the OMB to strengthen and better implement the Ease of Doing Business Law for the greater benefit of the Filipino people,” Mr. Perez said.

Signatories to the joint statement were Alyansa Agrikultura, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Anvil Business Club, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce 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 (Phil) Inc., Filipina CEO Circle, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Fintech Alliance Philippines, Green EDSA Movement;

Institute Of Corporate Directors, Investment House Association of the Philippines, IT & Business Process 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 & Industry;

Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., Philippine Franchise Association, Philippine Retailers Association, Procurement and Supply Institute of Asia, and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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