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The Presidentâs hotline
From top left: Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president and CEO Al Panlilio, Undersecretary. Ricardo Bernabe III, PLDT Enterprise presi-dent Jovy Hernandez, director Bernadette Casinabe, the author, director Roderic Gabia and PLDT Group communications head Cathy Yang.

The President’s hotline

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Atty. Mike Toledo (The Philippine Star) - March 23, 2021 - 12:00am

When Rodrigo Roa Duterte became president, two matters of concern that he wanted to address were: one, the ease of doing business; and two, corruption.

True to his promise, President Duterte issued on Oct. 14, 2016, Executive Order No. 6 (EO 6) that institutionalized the 8888 Citizen’s Complaint Hotline and established the 8888 Citizen’s Complaint Center.

The legal basis for this issuance was Republic Act No. 9485, otherwise known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (R.A.9485), and Administrative Order No. 241, issued in 2008, which “enjoined all agencies to establish a public hotline to effectively receive feedback and monitor customer satisfaction in accordance with R.A.9485.”

Prior to EO 6, there was the Contact Center Ng Bayan (CCB) by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), in collaboration with the National Computer Center (NCC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The Contact Center Ng Bayan was a feedback mechanism designated as the government’s main help desk where citizens could request for information and assistance on government frontline service procedures, and report commendations, appreciation, complaints, and feedback to support the implementation of RA 9485.

The CCB provided an avenue for the public to air out concerns relative to the quality of frontline service delivery by government personnel and any other violations of RA 9485 for resolution, insight and process improvement.

The need, however, was identified to institutionalize a public complaints hotline involving all agencies of the government and build on existing public feedback mechanisms for the realization of the government’s policy to eradicate red tape and corruption.

From top left: Mitchelle De Guzman, the author, Roderic Gabia, Medialdea, Casinabe, Anthony Fernandez, Panlilio, Vic Tria,Hernandez, Bernabe, Roy Ibay, Joy Hilao, Yang and Kamyl Pineda. Not in photo are Sara de Guzman and Jhayvee Macadaeg-Pondevida.

Thus came the birth of the 8888 Citizen’s Complaint Hotline and Center.

On May 28, 2018, President Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11032 (RA 11032), which amended the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007; thus, henceforth, the law now known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The number “8888” has been institutionalized as the Citizen’s Complaint Hotline and an 8888 Citizen’s Complaint Center has been established under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary to serve as a mechanism where citizens may report their complaints and grievances on acts of red tape and/or corruption of any national government agency, government-owned or -controlled corporation, government financial institution, and other instrumentalities of government.

The 8888 Citizen’s Complaint Center is now managed by the Office of the Executive Secretary.

The 8888 citizen’s complaint hotline is a public service hotline that operates 24/7 together with another public service hotline, the 9-1-1 Emergency Hotline. To some extent, 8888 is also known as the President’s Hotline.

PLDT, the country’s largest integrated telecommunications company, together with PLDT Enterprise, it’s B2B arm, and wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications, powers the 8888 SMS hotline in partnership with the Office of the President.

The Office of the President — through its Broadcast Messaging division — re-launched the 8888 SMS hotline as an additional communication channel to send and receive text messages on public complaints or grievances on acts of red tape or corruption in any government agency.

And the good news is that all Smart, Sun, and TNT subscribers can now access the 8888 SMS Hotline free of charge.

Mechanisms such as these that allow the citizenry the venue to air grievances against erring government officials and agencies are the essence of democracy a government that is run for, with, and by the people.

My congratulations to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and his hardworking team. Same goes to the dedicated PLDT team led by PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart Communications president and CEO Al Panlilio, as well as PLDT-Enterprise head Jovy Hernandez.

It would do us well to support this and take an active role in governance for the good of the nation and its people.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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