Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, director general of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), reiterated his request for government agencies to establish official contact lines and make their offices publicly accessible.

Belgica said in a statement released Tuesday that this is a crucial feature of public service, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after ARTA continued receiving reports of government offices that are unreachable through their contact lines.

“We need to understand that it is a disservice to the public if they are not able to reach those in the government for assistance. This is yet another form of red tape that hampers the efficient delivery of government services to Filipinos,” Belgica said in a news release on Tuesday.

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“If we continue receiving complaints like this, we shall be issuing notices to explain to erring government offices,” he added.

He said setting up contact lines is as important as putting up Public Assistance and Complaints Desks, which are mandated under Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

This is in line with the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Memorandum Circular No. 87 released by the Office of the President.

Both issuances provide that the government must be at full operating capacity even during the Covid-19 pandemic or enhanced community quarantine which later shifted to Alert Level System.

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