By Angelie Villapando and Kate Shiene Agna and ARTA, March 4, 2020; Philippine Information Agency

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) launches its flagship program NEHEMIA aimed at reducing costs and processes in government transactions in order to help speed up the socio-economic agenda of the Duterte Administration.

Program NEHEMIA or National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies is a sectoral-based streamlining effort which targets to reduce the time, cost, requirements, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significance by 52% within 52 weeks.

“Through the reforms that will be created by Program NEHEMIA, we will be aligned with the President’s directive to eliminate ‘overregulation’ in the government,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said.

The sectors included in the first phase of the program are the (1) common towers and interconnectivity sector, (2) housing sector, (3) food and pharmaceutical sector, (4) logistics sector, and the (5) energy sector.

Inter-agency reviews shall be adopted for horizontal integration or end-to-end processing in the delivery of government services. In current practice, government agencies and their offices function independently from each other, creating redundant processes that procure the same information repeatedly but achieve minimal results.

“The Program NEHEMIA shall break down the silo system and the lack of interconnection among government agencies. Our government must be a singular unit serving the country, with the citizens being our primary client,” Belgica added.

Program NEHEMIA is pursuant to Rule III Section 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11032 which mandates ARTA to adopt a whole-of-government approach in the streamlining of government services. It is also aligned with the recently released Administrative Order 23: Eliminating Overregulation to Promote Efficiency of Government Processes signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last February 21, 2020.

The Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) will be the lead coordinating agency of the program whileOffice of the Cabinet Secretariat (OCS) and ARTA will act as cochairs. Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will lead the development of the digital infrastructure for the automation of government service.

Present during the launch at the Premier Guest House in Malacañan Compound on Wednesday, March 4 are ARTA Director General Belgica and key officials from the lead builders of the program — the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), ARTA, Office of the Cabinet Secretariat (OCS), Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Development Academy of the Philippines.