Duterte to frontline services: Answer requests in 15 days

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte directed government agencies "performing frontline services" to "respond to all public requests and concerns" within 15 days, effective immediately.

Malacañang provided reporters with a copy of this directive contained in a memorandum circular on Monday, May 7. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed this memorandum circular "by authority of the President" on Friday, May 4.

The directive is based on Republic Act (RA) No. 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. 

"Now, therefore, all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, performing frontline services as defined in RA No. 9485 are hereby directed to respond to all public requests and concerns within 15 days from receipt thereof, unless a shorter period is provider under applicable laws and issuances," said Memorandum Circular No. 44 signed by Medialdea.

"It is understood that 'frontline services' under RA No. 9485 is defined as the process or transaction between clients and government offices or agencies involving applications for any privilege, right, permit, reward, license, concession, or for any modification, renewal, or extension of the enumerated applications and/or requests which are acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the agency or office concerned," the memorandum circular stated.

It also noted that a similar provision exists in RA No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

RA No. 6713 "provides that all public officials and employees shall, within 15 working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams, or other means of communications sent by the public and that the reply must contain the action taken on the request," the memorandum circular said. 

Duterte, the mayor of Davao City for more than two decades, has vowed to remove red tape since his 2016 presidential campaign. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.