Civil Service Commission bears torch of cutting red tape

The Philippines already has numerous anti-corruption laws, but strict implementation seems to be absent. CSC is now taking big leaps to cut red tape that have long been existent in the country's bureaucracy.

Inefficient government bureaucracy and corruption are among the five most problematic factors for doing business in the Philippines as reported by World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2015-2016.  

The country already has several anti-corruption laws, one is the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (ARTA). To assure effective implementation of ARTA and that integrity is present in government actions and processes, Civil Service Commission (CSC) launched its flagship program, Integrated-ARTA (I-ARTA) in 2010.

What is ARTA?

RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act is applicable to all government offices and agencies including local government units and government-owned or -controlled corporations that provide frontline services.


Penalties imposed towards violators of ARTA depends upon the intensity of their offense; they may be suspended for 30 days without pay or worse, be disqualified from public service, imprisoned for not more than six years or pay a fine of P20,000-200,000.

Programs under I-ARTA

Integrated Anti-Red Tape Act (I-ARTA) basically monitors compliance of government agencies with the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) and empower citizens as a government service customer. Under I-ARTA are programs such as: 1) Report Card Survey; 2) Contact Center ng Bayan (8888); 3) ARTA watch; 4) Service Delivery Excellence Program (SDEP); and 5) Citizen’s Satisfaction Center Seal of Excellence. I-ARTA receives funding from the national government which is why it must be conducted regularly.

Report Card Survey (RCS), has been implemented by the Civil Service Commission since 2010. It is used as a quantitative measure of actual public service performance based on the clients’ perception. In 2015, there are 1,114 service offices subjected to RCS. Of these offices, 31.7% obtained an Excellent rating, 0.54% got Outstanding marks, 62.6% were rated Good, 3.9% were graded Acceptable and 1.4% Failed the RCS. The regions that got numerous excellent marks (dubbed as Regions of Excellence) are: 1) Region 2- 56% (28 out of 50); 2) Region3- 46% (57 out of 123); 3) Region 5- 42% (27 out of 64). Further details on the grading of RCS are provided below.

Figure 1: Grading of RCS
Source: Civil Service Commission (

The Contact Center ng Bayan (CCB), now known as 8888, is a feedback mechanism designed as the government’s main helpdesk where citizens can request for information and assistance on government frontline service procedures, and report commendations, appreciation, complaints, and feedback. A quick action team from the CSC responds to the public’s complaints and refers them to the agencies concerned. It also serves as an effective platform where CSC gains valuable data that served as inputs for ARTA implementation.

In ARTA watch, CSC officials conduct surprise visits to spot check agencies’ frontline services. It is usually conducted at noon to check compliance with the No Noon Break policy. The ARTA Watch is also a means to raise awareness on the law and to bring the message that the CSC is serious in pushing for quality government services.

The Citizen’s Satisfaction Center Seal of Excellence is an award given to government service offices who have: 1) obtained an Excellent rating in RCS; 2) has no valid and unresolved ARTA-related complaint based on the CCB data. Awardees are conferred a wall-mountable glass seal bearing the “Seal of Excellence” logo to symbolize the achievement of excellence, as well as a cash reward amounting to PHP100,000.00, to be utilized specifically for improving their compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act.

Those that obtained a rating of Failed under RCS will undergo the Service Delivery Excellence Program (SDEP). The SDEP includes conduct of service improvement workshops and facilitation for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the service office’s strategies, structure, staff, and systems.

Dr. Maria Luisa Agamata, Director IV of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), said that the I-ARTA was reported to produce changes in the civil servants’ behavior, physical form of government office and stricter compliance with ARTA. Furthermore, Dr. Agamata stressed that individuals must actively provide feedbacks to aid in reforming the flawed system of government and advance Philippine’s competitiveness.

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