Traditionally, government agencies observe lunch breaks usually from 12 noon to 1 p.m. which temporarily suspends the delivery of public service. Government transactions resume after the break.
This situation has changed. With the passage of Republic Act No. 9845 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007, lunch breaks in government offices no longer disrupt the delivery of vital frontline services because such offices are now “open for business” even during the traditional lunch break schedule. The “No Noon Break” policy finds legal basis in RA 9845, pertinent provisions of which read.
“Heads of offices and agencies which render frontline services shall adopt appropriate working schedules to ensure that all clients who are within their premises prior to the end of official working hours are attended to and served during lunch break and after regular working hours.”
The implementation of the “No Noon Break” policy applies to all government agencies and aims to enhance and ensure prompt, courteous, efficient and accurate public service. Likewise, it is also an anti-red tape measure to curb graft and corruption in the bureaucracy.
Acting Regional Director Bienvenida L. Ragucos of the Civil Service Commission said that the regional office has implemented the “No Lunch Break” policy to expand the coverage and delivery of its services.
Under the scheme, heads of division have to designate their respective officers of the day during lunch break in order to facilitate the smooth flow of transactions of their services. Ragucos said that employees who will be assigned to oversee the operations during lunch break will have to take their lunch from 11 a.m. to 12 noon to ensure that there are personnel to man operations during that time.
Meanwhile, a series of spot checking in the implementation of the policy was done in some government agencies in San Fernando City in La Union. The random audit was conducted by CSC personnel to check whether government offices have complied with the policy and other requirements as stipulated in the ARTA.
In its fourth year of supposed implementation, compliance has been assessed to be generally “not favorable” as almost 90 percent of the offices have been found not complying yet. More than 40 percent of them do not have Citizen’s Charters posted in their respective offices as required also by the ARTA.
The “No Noon Break” policy mandates all government offices to ensure uninterrupted and continuous service between 12 noon to 1 p.m. At least one officer-of-the-day is assigned to entertain and respond to walk-in and phone-in queries of clients. The officer must also prepare the Citizen’s Charter and have it posted in conspicuous places where clients could refer to for specific information.
The policies are a concrete move of the government to stand by the words of commitment made by President Aquino in his inaugural speech in 2010 when he said “Kayo and boss ko.” (ANL/DOS-PIA 1 Pangasinan with contribution from CSC Region I)
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