The Department of Finance (DOF) and the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have started identifying the data to be gathered from various government agencies for the automated business and citizen registries that they plan to make operational before the end of the year, as part of the Duterte administration’s intensified efforts to cut red tape and improve the quality of frontline services to the public.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, the head of the DOF’s Anti-Red Tape Team, said the government agencies where the data would be collected include the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Corp. (PhilHealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) and the Office of the City Treasurer of every local government unit (LGU).
He said pertinent data usually required from applicants who want to secure licenses, permits and other official documents would be culled from these agencies so that they could be linked and shared in the registries.
“Examples of data are Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) from the BIR and employer registration numbers from the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG Fund,” Beltran said.
Beltran said the registries will serve as a one-stop shop for individuals and corporate entities to easily track and validate their records, removing from them the burden of proving legitimacy.
Although they are still in the process of constructing the time-frame for its full operation,Beltran said Filipinos can expect the registries to be partly operational before the end of the year.
He said a nationwide information campaign would be conducted before the registries become fully operational to educate the government agencies involved and the users as well on how to use the automated systems.
A minimal fee would be charged for the use of the registries, he added.
“Now, we are focusing on the citizens, the government’s clients, and how we can make it easier for them to apply for permits and other things they need in government offices by checking requirements online instead of asking them to submit many documents,” he said earlier.
The data sharing in the registries would help streamline frontline government services by doing away with the repetitious process of applicants having to fill up numerous forms and submitting to different agencies the same official papers, which, in the first place, are already in the government database, Beltran said.
Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III created the Anti-Red Tape Team headed by Beltran following the directive of President Duterte delivered during his inaugural address on June 30 to drastically cut red tape in the bureaucracy by removing redundant requirements and paring the processing time needed by people to obtain permits, clearances and other documents from government offices.
Dominguez said he is envisioning a system comparable to the one used by the online buying portal Amazon.com, which can process millions of purchases from clients by requiring just a one-time registration of pertinent data that can then be validated and used for all transactions.
“Our IT people are working closely with revenue people to make things like that as simple as possible. If Amazon can do that, I don’t know how many millions of customers; I think we can certainly do something like that,” Dominguez said.
In his first State-of-the-Nation Address, President Duterte reiterated his June 30directive to all Cabinet secretaries to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications filed in government offices “from the [day of] submission to release.”
Beltran has said the Business Registry and the Citizens Registry, which will be primarily developed by the DICT, is a lasting solution to the perennial problem of red tape in all government offices.
The Business Registry would be a database of all operating businesses, non-government organizations and cooperatives in the Philippines, while the Citizen’s Registry would provide the government with a comprehensive record of all Filipinos under file in the system.
In the DOF, Beltran said agencies under its wing have already taken concrete, short-term solutions to cut red tape.
The BIR, for instance, removed three out of an average six documents required for the issuance of the TIN, while the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC), removed one out of an average of four documents and cut the number of days to process a frontline service by one day, he said.
Beltran said a memorandum of agreement may be necessary among the various government agencies to ensure the appropriate protocols on cost sharing and the use and sharing of data.
All DOF-attached agencies, he said, have ongoing programs to reduce processing time and documentary requirements for frontline services, which are monitored on a quarterly basis by the Civil Service Commission, as provided under the ARTA.
Beltran’s anti-red tape team is composed of all members of the DOF’s Taskforce/Committee on Citizen’s Charter plus one representative each from the respective Citizen’s Charter committees of DOF-attached bureaus and agencies.