As the country races against time to contain the spread of the deadly virus, Senator Win Gatchalian urges the national government to relax the requirements on COVID-19 related transactions to expedite the delivery of relief and services to the public. The national government he says should tap local government units (LGUs) to help make it work, emphasizing that there are complex bureaucratic procedures that hamper the delivery of aid to communities that need them most.
“The virus is spreading fast across our country making major damage in our health, livelihood, and economy. Therefore, we in the government should move the delivery of our services to our kababayans faster than the virus,” Gatchalian said.
For one, Gatchalian cited the assistance package of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the affected workers in private establishments. The problem he said is that the package can only be released in two weeks once all the application of beneficiaries are received at the regional offices. Aside from that, employers are also required to submit their COVID-19 precautionary measure reports.
Another is the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is a standby fund for relief, recovery, reconstruction, and other works or services in times of disasters, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies. The lawmaker commented that before it gets to the people, LGUs have to meet a long list of requirements to utilize the fund. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has yet to release calamity and quick response funds.
“Red tape will eventually kill Filipinos and not the virus. Government should relax rules and tap LGUs to act fast. Ang tulong na kailangang ibigay sa mga nangangailangang pamilya at komunidad ay ngayon na at hindi na pwedeng paghintayin pa”, he said.
“Sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon kasi ngayon, double-whammy ito sa ating mga Pilipino. Hindi lamang tayo dumaranas ng krisis pangkalusugan, ang red tape sa gobyerno ay isang malaking krisis din,” Gatchalian added.
The Anti-Red Authority (ARTA) has recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-03 or the “Extension of Deadline of Submission of the Citizen’s Charter and Suspension of Processing Times in the Delivery of Government Services in Luzon Area in Light of the Imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.