Anti-red tape agency orders FDA, SEC to hasten paperwork | Inquirer Business
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Anti-red tape agency orders FDA, SEC to hasten paperwork

/ 05:06 AM September 10, 2019

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) yesterday ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to automatically approve applications with complete paperwork and requirements.

According to Arta Director General Jeremiah Belgica, there are 3,125 FDA applications that have already been completed and paid as of Aug. 8, or 20 working days before the issuance of the order on Monday.

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The newly created agency met with the FDA last month amid complaints about the thousands of applications in its backlog. These, the Arta said in its order, are now deemed approved.

The Arta issued a similar order to the SEC, with regards the accreditation of three audit firms: Dimaculangan, Dimaculangan & Co., Ocampo Lim Mendoza and Co., and M.F. Padernal & Co.

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In total, four applications were filed, with Dimaculangan, Dimaculangan & Co. filing twice.

At a press briefing on Monday, Belgica said the agency was investigating if there were any deliberate efforts to sit on the applications, some of which had been pending for years.

The official, however, stopped short of saying if any cases will be filed, even though the Arta’s enabling law strictly prohibits government employees from processing applications longer than they are supposed to.

Under Republic Act No. 11032, government agencies have to process permits within three to 20 days, depending on how complex or technical the papers are.

The processing could be extended once for another 20 days.

The law penalizes government officials who do not follow the prescribed time period, such as suspension for the first offense and then an administrative and criminal liability for the second offense.

“We’re always open to that,” he said when asked if any charges will be filed.

“We are continuing our investigation here for any possible deliberate delaying of the papers. In fact, we are intensifying our fight against ‘fixers,’” he said, referring to those who ask for extra money in exchange for easier and faster processing of papers.

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