Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

We would like to congratulate Director-General Jeremiah Belgica and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) for spearheading the preparation of the Whole-of-Government Reengineering Guidelines and Manual, with assistance from the UK government. 

During President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), he again strongly expressed his dismay at seeing the people queuing up to get government services. He said, “Ayusin ninyo ‘yan. I do not want people queuing under the heat of the sun and rain.” This message has consistently resonated in all of his past addresses and speeches.

But in order to remove the long queues, national government and local government units (LGUs) have to review their processes and streamline or reengineer their processes. Thus, the launching of this manual is very timely, coming right after the President’s SONA. Hot-off-press, this manual concretely provides government agencies with a useful guide to implement Section 5 of Republic Act (RA) 11032, or the “Ease of Doing Business and efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.” In particular, this section deals with reengineering systems and procedures. With this manual, wala nang excuse ang agencies na hindi nila alam papaano mag-streamline ng kanilang mga proseso.

The President also thanked Congress in his SONA for passing the Ease of Doing Business Law. This highlights the important role of ARTA in pushing the government to provide better services to the people, even with the present COVID-19 pandemic.  

We’ve all seen how the pandemic has wreaked havoc to our lives, to the economy, and to our health systems. That’s why we need to contribute to reviving the Philippine economy to generate jobs and reduce poverty. We believe that through more efficient services—especially through automation—government agencies and local government units (LGUs) can help in reviving economic activity. Likewise, one effective way of eliminating queues in government offices is the automation of government services.

If government services can be delivered online through platforms where people can apply, pay, and get permits, for instance, then their businesses can continue operating. They can also provide their business requirements even if the government only has a skeletal workforce at their offices due to the pandemic. More efficient services by the government can lead to savings in both time and money for businesses that can be used more productively. 

As such, if there is one silver lining in this pandemic, it is this increased use of automation. This manual can help in agencies in developing automated systems. It also provides tools for identifying pain points of customers, which can be addressed in the design of systems. Additionally, it contains recommendations for actual reform implementation. More importantly, this manual impresses on agencies the importance of continuous improvements, knowing full well that reform is never a one-off thing but a continuous and dynamic process.

In closing, we hope that ARTA distributes the manual to as many agencies as possible and to develop training modules that agencies can access online. We also encourage the agencies to study this manual and apply the recommendations in streamlining their various operations and service.

As we build back better in the wake of the pandemic, we now have the opportunity to implement changes that would greatly benefit our people, whether by making it easy for them to engage with us or by creating jobs and employment for them. No matter how hard this may be, we must remember that this is all worth it if this gives our people a more comfortable and greater quality of life.

As the President recently said, “We need to make every public servant responsive to the needs of the people and enjoin every Filipino to assert their right to demand malasakit from their leaders until everyone lives with dignity—well-fed, educated, healthy, secure, disciplined, and empowered—to contribute to national development.”

Again, congratulations to ARTA for producing this manual! Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 29 July 2021