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ARTA to endorse government officials, employees for lifestyle checks
ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica revealed the move to endorse government officials for lifestyle check during an interview with One News’ Agenda aired over Cignal TV/TV5, amid continuing delays in the processing of permit applications for various products at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
ARTA

ARTA to endorse government officials, employees for lifestyle checks

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) will endorse government employees and officials to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) for lifestyle checks.

ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica revealed the move to endorse government officials for lifestyle check during an interview with One News’ Agenda aired over Cignal TV/TV5, amid continuing delays in the processing of permit applications for various products at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Earlier this week, the ARTA issued a show-cause order to FDA Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR) director IV Jesusa Cirunay to explain the reason for the over 600 pending applications of pharmaceutical companies despite having submitted complete requirements.

Under Executive Order 43, the PACC “may, upon instructions of the President, or motu proprio, conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or omissions of all presidential appointees including those outside the executive branch of the government, which may be violative of the law and /or constitute serious misconduct tantamount to betrayal of public trust.”

Belgica said the ARTA has gathered leads on the background of individuals endorsed for PACC’s lifestyle checks, but declined to provide details.

He said corruption and red tape are closely linked and when government processes take a long time, individuals are forced to find other ways for faster completion of transactions by paying “grease money.”

Given the inaction on applications with the FDA, Belgica renewed his call to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and FDA director general Eric Domingo to take action on the matter.

“We have a terminology in law ‘beyond pecuniary estimation’, I would say. It’s really hard to assign monetary equivalence when we’re talking about the lives that probably would have been saved and, you know, sickness would have been addressed sooner if only these were acted upon,” he said when asked on the estimated losses due to the delays.

He said there are about 40 to 50 companies with applications for renewal of permits for products that have been delayed.

“In the time of pandemic, you know we have this kind of problem with our regulatory agency of drugs that they should be more compassionate. I’m really heartbroken,” he said.

Belgica said ARTA seeks to ensure that government processes are moving for the efficient and timely delivery of public services.

“What we’re saying is take action at the right time because red tape in the time of pandemic could kill,” he said.

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