New ARTA head says Zubiri-initiated meet with Ombudsman was ‘fruitful’
MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Office of the Ombudsman have agreed that there is no conflict between the agencies and their mandates, new ARTA Director General Ernesto Perez said on Thursday.
During the Laging Handa Public Briefing, Perez revealed that Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri invited him and Ombudsman Samuel Martires to discuss the issues hounding both agencies.
The controversy started when Martires asked Congress to repeal Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 — which created the ARTA — as its function supposedly overlaps the Office of the Ombudsman.
“No’ng ako po’y nag take oath kay Executive Secretary the following day po pinatawag tayo ng Senate President Migz Zubiri kasama po natin ang Ombudsman. Nagkaroon po kami ng napaka-gandang usapan nag-last po ng mga one and a half hours at nalinawan naman po na talaga ang ARTA at tsaka Ombudsman,” Perez said.
(After taking my oath of office before the Executive Secretary, Senate President Migz Zubiri called me along with the Ombudsman the following day. We had an excellent discussion which lasted one and a half hours, and there was an understanding between the ARTA and the Ombudsman.)
“Wala naman pong conflict o walang encroachment dun sa jurisdiction […] In fact dapat po magtulungan kasi po ang ARTA naka-focus sa anti-red tape, ang Ombudsman naman focus sa anti-corruption. So dapat po mag-partner at kami po’y nagkasundo na mag tulungan ang ARTA at ang Ombudsman,” he added.
(No conflict or encroachments of jurisdictions exist. In fact, we should help each other because ARTA is focused on eradicating red tape, while the Ombudsman focuses on anti-corruption. So the ARTA and the Ombudsman should be partners and help each other.)
Shortly after Martires made the sentiments, Zubiri — who said Martires is his friend — asked to broker a dialogue and clarify matters between Martires and Perez.
Zubiri is the author of R.A. 11032.
Several business groups have also opposed the idea to scrap ARTA, as it is a mechanism used by entrepreneurs and those engaged in business to counter government red tape.
Perez, who was appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last Tuesday, said he believes there was only a slight misunderstanding about the mandates of ARTA and the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Kami po’y nagkasundo in fact wala naman kaming away. Ang totoo lang medyo siguro misunderstanding lang sa mandato,” he said.
(We had the understanding that there is no fight between us. The truth is that maybe there was just a slight misunderstanding about the mandates.)
“Pero kami po ay sa meeting ngayon nagkasundo na kami po lalo pang pag igtingin ang aming pagtutulungan para po maramdaman ng taong bayan na ang ARTA at ang Ombudsman ay sama sama na maddress itong isyu on red tape and corruption,” he added.
(But now, we have ironed things out in the meeting, and we would intensify cooperation so that the public would feel that ARTA and the Ombudsman are joining hands in addressing issues of red tape and corruption.) With reports from Trisha Manalaysay, trainee