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Duque: No noon break for gov’t frontline offices

Government offices providing frontline services to the public should be able to serve their clients even during lunch break.

This was stressed by Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Francisco T. Duque III when he made a surprise visit to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) office in Alabang, Muntinlupa City at noon of March 18 to check its observance with the “No Noon Break” policy and other provisions under Republic Act No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA).

Earlier, the CSC made similar spot checks at the Land Transportation Office, Land Registration Authority and Social Security System in Quezon City, and the Bureau of Immigration in Manila as part of its heightened campaign to cut red tape in the bureaucracy.

“This is not to mean that public servants are not allowed to take their lunch break. Rather, the ARTA mandates heads of agencies to implement an appropriate working schedule for their employees to ensure uninterrupted service throughout business hours,” said Duque.

Duque visited the Regulation Division, Products and Services Registration Section, and Cashier Section of FDA and was pleased to find out that it did not suspend operations during lunch break. He also noted that the queuing system was organized and that the frontline employees wore their IDs.

Duque also observed the presence of the FDA Citizen’s Charter inside the main building, the FDA Service Pledge at the Annex Building, and a list of requirements and transaction flow in front of each office rendering frontline service. The ARTA prescribes agencies to install a Citizen’s Charter in the form of a billboard that informs transacting clients on the requirements, steps, fees and other pertinent information on the frontline services that can be availed of from the agency.

The CSC Chief also urged citizens to help in improving frontline service delivery in public offices by reporting to the CSC violations of the ARTA through its hotline numbers 932-0111 and 0917-8398272.

“Report to us if you see fixers in the area, if the office fails or refuses to act on your application or request without reasonable cause, or if you encounter slow and discourteous service. We will do our best to respond to them and take the necessary action,” he said.

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