By Argyll Cyrus Geducos, September 26, 2021; Manila Bulletin

As the public continues to shift to more accessible digital channels, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is set to launch two digital platforms aimed at boosting the agency’s capacity in complaints handling.

In a statement, ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica said the two new platforms called the ARTA Dashboard and the ARTA Citizen Services Mobile Application will give ARTA more of a national presence online.

The ARTA Dashboard will provide a glimpse of the agency’s operations and will serve as a mechanism to monitor the progress of priority activities.

Meanwhile, the ARTA Citizen Services Mobile Application will be an innovative platform that will complement the other ways to file a complaint before the Authority, which are physically submitting or filing at ARTA’s office, through its website, through email, and through a letter of complaint.

Belgica said the two online platforms will strengthen ARTA’s new Rules of Procedure (ROP) for handling online complaints. It is also in line with his vision for ARTA to be the first paperless agency.

The new platforms will likewise promote ARTA’s zero-contact policy and will ensure physical distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

With the old ROP, complaints must have complete documents before being sent to handling lawyers. With the new system, the application will prompt the complainant to complete their requirements.

Previously, ARTA would also take several months to handle cases due to limited staff. But with the new ROP, cases should only take 47 days for the completion of the required submissions of both parties, including hearings; and 20 days to resolve.

ARTA has been gradually doing away from handling complaints manually as 60 percent of it is now done online.

The agency also scrapped the Affidavit of Completeness requirement for Automatic Approval applications.