Belgica qualifies as ARTA chief; Cusi guides indigenous

President Rodrigo Duterte made the right choice in appointing Jeremiah  Belgica as director general of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

He is a younger brother of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner and Spokesperson Greco Belgica and both are sons of Presidential Adviser for Religious Affairs Grepor ‘Butch’ Belgica.

Although he may look young, Jeremiah happens to be a lawyer who has been practicing law for the past ten years and senior partner of his law office. I know him to be highly principled and a ‘straight’ guy so the job fits him right.

As the anti-red tape czar, Atty. Jeremiah is the only official who can issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Ease of Doing Business Law.

A couple of days ago, said IRR which also covers the Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 was signed, setting clear ‘3-7-20-day deadlines’. According to Jeremiah, this will also depend on the complexity of the transaction, to approve and act an application for permits or face penalties in a heightened effort to eliminate redtape and corruption in government.

In a matter of days, it will be fully implemented after complying with the publication requirements. Reports say the law was signed in May last year and took effect in June, but that the IRR took longer because of the delay in the appointment of the Director General.

A main provision of the law, which created the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Council to implement it, is the standardization of processing time for applications and transactions with the government.

The ‘3-7-20’ deadline for example, provides that for a simple transaction, government agencies are given three working days and then seven working days for complex transactions and 20 working days if the transaction involved requires highly-technical assessment.

Also under the IRR, hefty penalties against violators and those not complying with the law will be imposed.

For the first offense, the penalty is a six-month suspension while for second-time offenders, the penalty that awaits would be one to six years of imprisonment, a fine of not less than P500,000 but not more than P2 million; and termination of retirement benefits.

The IRR, under Rule VIII, provides for the automatic approval or automatic extension, renewal of license, clearance, permit, certification or authorization upon verification that the applicant has needed fully submitted all necessary documents and paid all the required fees.

This is welcome news for those doing business or wanting to venture into business in the country.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a circular to guide the indigenous communities in accessing and utilizing the financial benefits from their hosting of power generation facilities and/or energy resource development projects pursuant to the Energy Regulations (ER) No. 1-94 Program.

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, ‘the DOE recognizes the right of our tribal and indigenous communities to optimize available social development opportunities and preserve their critical role as the stewards of our energy resources, particularly where the power plants and/or the energy resource development projects are located.

Under a circular issued for the purpose, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) shall endorse all legitimate indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples’ (ICCs/IPs) beneficiaries to the DOE within 30 days from receiving all the necessary requirements from the ICCs/IPs.

Thereafter, the DOE will notify the concerned generation company and/or energy resource developer of the inclusion of the host ICCs/IPs for the remittance of their financial benefits. The policy enables the host ICCs/IPs to utilize the funds for the implementation of their social development projects.

“The Host ICCs/IPs’ receipt of financial benefits from power plants situated within their ancestral domain is a symbolic way to mark the 25th year of implementing ER No. 1-94. This arrangement with the ICCs/IPs further strengthens the DOE’s commitment to boost their participation, cooperation and sustained partnership in power development projects,” Cusi said.

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Beauty tip— You can rub table salt to affected areas two times a day for 10 to 15 minutes for at least seven days in order to remove ‘alipunga’ or ‘athlete’s foot’. (Source: Dr Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical Spa /4108424/4669596/09178038240/ 025053987)

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Jokjok (from Judith Caballes of Makati City)— Pedro: Pare, kelan ang birthday mo?/Juan: August 30, pare!/Pedro: Anong taon?/Juan: Syempre, taon taon! Alangan namang ‘sometimes’ lang, di ba? ’Wag kang tanga?

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