THE ANTI-RED Tape Authority (ARTA) has thrown its support behind requiring 100% office capacity for all frontline government workers to ensure speedy processing and maintain quality of services.

Reintegration of all government workers in frontline services into daily office work will head off any deterioration in service quality, the agency said in a statement Monday. Back-end operations supporting frontline services should be included in any return-to-office arrangements, ARTA added.

The government recently imposed stricter quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila after confirmation of the local transmission of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Over a hundred Delta variant cases have been confirmed in the Philippines.

ARTA said it does not support requiring a return to work for senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and persons with disabilities, and pregnant and nursing mothers. Such workers, it said, may be assigned to other units.

“Other offices or units of the agency may operate at 50% capacity. This may decrease or increase depending on the health crisis situation,” the agency said.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said that the agency has received complaints about inefficient government work, including backlogs of pending applications.

“With long queues and government delays and inaction on transactions, some applicants resorted to engaging with fixers,” ARTA said.

“Temporary or half-baked online services were developed and deployed in a bid to continue providing services to the public but these did not last as technical glitches forced them to cease operations.”

Some government agencies have also not provided employees with internet allowances and shuttle services.

Business groups have been pressing the government to digitalize its services to allow it to continue functioning during lockdowns. 

Consultations with government agencies will be conducted before personnel are required to report to their offices, ARTA added. — Jenina P. Ibañez