The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said Friday that its guidelines on reduced requirements for issuing government permits, which it pitched as a means of dealing with the "new normal,” were endorsed by the body enforcing pandemic regulations, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

"The IATF-EID endorsed the guidelines and is set to direct all agencies to adopt the measures," ARTA said in a statement.

It said the guidelines are in line with the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to streamline and digitize government processes.

ARTA's guidelines require government agencies to reduce the number of requirements for permits, licenses, and authorizations.

According to ARTA's Memorandum Circular No. 2020-06: "Government agencies are enjoined to adopt alternative procedures for verification of information that can be secured from other government offices, agencies and departments, such as, but not limited to data-sharing arrangements.”

They should not require information from requesting parties that can be sourced from offices within the same agency, ARTA added.

Government agencies are also required to use and accept digital or electronic signatures in documents, while electronic payment systems should be set up for cashless transactions.

ARTA said the zero-contact policy "should not be used as a tool in denying government service to the transacting public who are requesting for an update on the status of their applications."

"In line with the zero-contact policy, requirements for meeting with the applicant shall be removed, unless the procedure is considered strictly necessary for a complex or a highly-technical transaction. In such a circumstance, the government agency shall strictly observe contactless interactions through the use of technological platforms," it added.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said: "ARTA is mindful of the challenges that many government agencies are facing since the adoption of alternative work arrangements. However, this shall not be an excuse for us in the government to forego the prescribed processing time. Any failure to deliver government service constitutes a violation of the law." — Arjay L. Balinbin