By MARY ANN “MANJA” BAYANG
GMA just signed into law the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, otherwise known as “An Act To Prevent Graft And Corruption And Improve Government Services To The People By Cutting Government Bureaucratic Red Tape.”
Red tape in the government has been so ingrained in the system that it is like a plague that has been there for a very long time and it seems like we cannot get rid of it. The public generally has lost confidence and trust on the government’s capacity to deliver basic public services due to widespread red tape.
Will this anti-Red Tape Act finally solve this malady?
The Act defines red tape as any act or omission committed by a government official or employee resulting in the delay or inaction on a paper, document, application, request or transaction before any government agency, contrary to the action time prescribed for the purpose.
The Act seeks to penalize any public officer or employee who fails to act on applications for permits, retirement benefits or compensation and the grant of any privilege, right, award, license, concession, or for modification, renewal or extension, payment or release of, money for services rendered, or for supplies and materials delivered, or activities and transactions or other routinary matters
This Act applies to all government offices and agencies, including local government units and government-owned or -controlled corporations with original charter.
However, the President, members of Congress, justices and judges, and other elective officials up to the municipal level are exempt from the coverage of the law.
The law penalizes any public official or employee committing any violation of the Act with imprisonment ranging from two to six years and dismissal from the service, with forfeiture of all benefits arising from his employment. The violation of the provisions of this Act shall also be a cause for filing of appropriate administrative charges
Any violation of the Act may be filed before the Municipal Trial Courts within five years from discovery of the offense.
Will this Act alleviate the scourge of red tape in the government?
We will see. It will all depend on you and me. #