CUT RED TAPE. President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (Dec. 20, 2019) orders the completion of all government transactions in just a matter of hours. The President issued the fresh directive to government offices to avoid delays in the processing of documents that might cause public inconvenience. (Presidential photo by Rey Baniquet)

MANILA -- As part of his plan to cut bureaucratic red tape in government, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered state offices to finish all transactions just in hours.

The President gave the fresh directive, a month after he issued an ultimatum demanding the completion of paperwork in all government offices by mid-December.

Duterte maintained he would not allow any worker in the government to prolong the processing of documents to extort money from the public.

“I’m warning again the bureaucracy. Dito man ang mga secretary, madali man nila (Cabinet secretaries are here and they can act on it). I do not want papers to be acted by days. I want it by hours,” he said during the closing ceremony of the National ROTC Summit and the first Presidential Silent Drill Competition at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

“If you are a director, do not hang on it. Huwag mong upuan ‘yan kasi pabalik-balikin mo ang tao hanggang bumigay ng pera (Do not sit on it and let the public spend too much time going back and forth until they are forced to give you money),” he added.

Duterte has been complaining about the supposed snail-paced government transactions causing inconvenience to people who need to line up and spend too much time to get permits and other documents from concerned public offices.

On November 22, Duterte wanted all government offices to finish their pending transactions by December 15 this year. However, he failed to mention in his latest speech whether his directive was followed.

During the 44th Cabinet meeting on December 2, Duterte approved the proposal to streamline and automate processes of government agencies to further improve the country’s business climate.

In June this year, the President sought the issuance of an executive order that would streamline government processes and set a timetable on the release of public documents under the executive branches.

In May 2018, Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 was signed by Duterte to address the tedious and unnecessary procedures in the delivery of public services.

RA 11032, which supplants RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, introduces simplified requirements and streamlines procedures in the processing of government documents.

RA 11032 mandates government agencies to process simple transactions within three working days, complex transactions within seven working days, and highly-technical transactions in 20 working days. No preferential treatment

Cutting red tape in government is one of the solutions seen by Duterte to stop public servants from being involved in corrupt activities.

The President assured the public that he would not give preferential treatment to anyone, including his allies who may be linked to corruption.

He said he was elected to the presidency to serve the country and not to favor the interests of any particular person or group.

“I have fired about five whose friendship dates back to 1988 when I first became the mayor of Davao. These guys were with me and who helped me all throughout,” he recalled.

“Pero ang sinabi ko, ‘pagka mag-sama tayo sa gobyerno and I have the power to appoint you, huwag mo akong hiyain because ayaw ko talaga ng corruption, ‘yung corruption sa gobyerno (But I said, when we are in the government and I have the power to appoint you, do not put me at (a) disadvantage because I do not really tolerate corruption, the corruption in government),” Duterte said. (PNA)