Foreign Businesses urge Greater
Inter-Agency Collaboraion Among Government
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) composed
of American, Australian, Canadian, European, Korean, and New Zealand-based businesses—is seeking greater collaboration
among the Department of Justice, Supreme Court, and the Office of the Ombudsman to stamp out corruption both in the public
and private sectors.
To further boost transparency and curb corruption, the Joint Foreign
Chambers is pushing for the immediate passage of the Freedom of Information Bill and the Whistle-blowers Act.
“We advocate the passage of the FOI Act. There has to be
stronger powers to compel the disclosure of information (regarding government transactions). We also support the Whistle-blowers
Act, to encourage people to tell on officials who are committing corruption,” American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
senior advisor John Forbes said...
The FOI Bill, had it been passed last Congress, would have been
a landmark legislation, as it would mandate full disclosure of information related to government transactions.
Officials denying access to information would face stiff sanctions.
The Whistle-blowers Act, on the other hand, sought to protect whistle-blowers
and witnesses from the risks related to their exposure of irregularities committed by government officials.
Commentary by the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting
Give the Commission on Audit real
Along with everybody else, we very much heralded and welcomed the
appointment of Heidi Mendoza to the position of Commissioner. Like everyone else, we have been impressed with many of the
reports produced and published by COA over the years. It was after all, COA that first uncovered the abuses in many of the
government-owned and -controlled corporations – PPTRP simply read the reports and published a summary of what it found
in March of last year. But it would be better for all if people started being scared of the COA and its reporting and
what a negative finding from the constitutional body might mean. COA needs to be given more power and the ability to sanction.
It has to be given teeth. It needs to be respected – if not feared more just like national audit offices are in many
other countries. It needs to be given the funds that will allow it to start moving towards performance auditing and not simply
left to audit books after the fact when money is spent and gone and possibly misused.
COA auditors also need to be physically removed from the departments
they are charged with reviewing. Unfortunately, PPTRP along with other groups has heard far too many claims of how some COA
auditors are way too close to the people and groups they are supposed to be independently monitoring. Thus we
would hope to hear something next week in the SONA about ensuring COA can be a much more effective body for the sake of us
Iloilo governor vows continued transparency
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. has expressed commitment to continue
his policy of maintaining transparency in governance.
“We have strictly imposed a zero-commission and no S.O.P.
(standard operating procedure, slang for bribes) policy,” Defensor emphasized in his State of the Provincial Address
“Public biddings are now conducted openly, and the public
can witness the opening of sealed bids and listen to the deliberations of the Bids and Awards Committee,” he added.
This reform in governance policy, the Iloilo governor said, has
enabled the provincial government to save some P36 million in implementing infrastructure projects, maintenance of roads and
bridges, hospital maintenance, procurement of medical supplies, and renovation of the Iloilo Sports Complex.
Real-time info on solons’ ‘pork’
now available online
Constituents of senators and congressmen can now check
in real time where their lawmakers are using their priority development assistance funds (PDAF), commonly known as "pork barrel."
is after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) introduced on Wednesday a new management information system, called
the electronic Transparency and Accountability Initiative for Lump Sum Funds (eTAILS), on its website.
"This project is to improve transparency, accountability
and engagement of the citizenry… The Aquino administration is committed to governance in daylight—governance that
is transparent and meaningfully participatory," Budget chief Florencio Abad said during the project’s launch.
11 Cabinet secretaries
sign Integrity Pledge
Eleven members of the Aquino Cabinet have
signed the Integrity Pledge, effectively joining a private sector-led effort to institute control measures to help curb corruption
in the country.
Henry Schumacher, vice president for external affairs of the European
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, which spearheads the Integrity Initiative along with the Makati Business Club, said
the Initiative had gained more steam these past months, as more government leaders exerted concrete steps to stamp out corruption...
Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares and Bureau of Customs
commissioner Angelito Alvarez likewise signed the pledge.
But signing the Integrity Pledge was just the first step, Schumacher
said. These key players of the Aquino administration would now have to come up with control measures to ensure corruption-free
operations in their respective departments and agencies.
“They have to cascade this to their people. This will be
of no use if the people at the bottom do not know about this initiative,” Schumacher told reporters on Wednesday.
The Integrity Initiative is supported by the American Chamber of
Commerce of the Philippines, Asian Institute of Management, Coalition against Corruption, and the Management Association of
Signatories to the Integrity Pledge commit to shun bribery in any
form, maintain a code of conduct for employees to pursue ethical business practices, and implement internal systems that will
prevent any unethical conduct within their firms.
They also vow to maintain transparent and appropriate financial
reporting mechanisms and to allow themselves to be subjected to audits should the need arise. They also commit to eventually
enter into “integrity pacts’’ with government agencies and other businesses, especially in the area of procurement.
One of the objectives of the Integrity Initiative is to eventually
formulate integrity standards by which companies will be measured – a sort of ISO that will give qualified firms a seal
The goal is to eventually get government agencies to commit to
accept only bids coming from integrity-certified companies. This will encourage more companies to sign the Integrity Pledge.
INVESTORS GENERALLY HAPPPY WITH
want government to implement
major reforms, particularly in the judiciary
- “We need to reform the judicial sector. Business harassment, or when competitors seek (temporary restraining orders),
is a big issue for investors. The delay in getting certain issues to court is also a problem,”
- "The Supreme Court sometimes reconsider cases two to three times. There’s no certainty in the business environment.
It’s like we can’t depend on written laws here."
- “Corruption starts at the top and ends at the top. We saw corruption from the top in the last administration."
- “For tax evasion and smuggling cases, there has to be convictions. The (Department of Justice, Office of the Ombudsman,
and the Supreme Court) should work together to get someone in jail: one whom people say will never go to jail,”
The foreign business leaders agreed that President Aquino had started on a positive note with a strong anti-corruption
campaign and a scheme to attract private investment to build crumbling infrastructure.
Read full Inquirer article
Budget Secretary Florencio
Abad: Central Payroll System for Government to Lessen Corruption
The Aquino administration will adopt a central payroll system
by 2012 where 1.3 million state workers will get their salaries direct from their bank accounts, and not through their individual
agencies, to cut red tape and further lessen bureaucratic corruption...
“Next year, we will begin to implement what we call the
Central Payroll System, where salaries of government (employees) will no longer go through the agencies, but the (national)
treasury office will deposit the salaries to the bank accounts of the employees,” he said.Through this scheme, the never-ending
problem of non-remittances to the Government Service Insurance System – the peak of which reached a staggering amount
of P9 billion (plus P15 billion in penalties) – will eventually be done away with and resolved...
“This will minimize corruption in the agency level, since
there will no longer be any middleman, so to speak, who can juggle public funds, just like the fund conversion scheme of the
AFP, where it earned interest,”...“With this, the money is not going to go to any other agency. What they would
only do is to prepare the payroll and send it to us, and we will tell the treasury to pay the employees, and they will do
Abad said the Aquino administration will be tapping ordinary
citizens, social groups and civil society organizations in formulating the 2012 national budget.
He said this landmark move was done in line with the President’s
social contract with the people to stamp out corruption by opening all government transactions in order to remain as transparent
Abad stressed that all government agencies have been directed to
open their books to the public through the posting of all transactions such as allotments, biddings, obligations and disbursements
on their respective websites.
GOVERNMENT VOWS TO CONTINUE DELIVERING JUSTICE: During the Pilipinas Natin Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance and Anti-corruption
forum...Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that her department would continue to deliver justice without fear or favor.
How to maintain and sustain the high public expectations are the biggest challenges so far for the department, De Lima said,
adding that this is the reason why the Department of Justice has initiated capacity building programs to continue to inspire
and motivate its personnel to be true to their missions. Touching on the high profile cases being prepared by the Aquino government
against the past leadership, De Lima said that presently all the cases are undergoing preliminary investigations.
INQUIRER - "NEW" HELICOPTERS
Former First Gentleman
Mike Arroyo used 2 choppers 16 times, son Mikey 69
Members of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s immediate
family extensively used the two helicopters that were falsely sold to the Philippine National Police as brand new in 2009,
according to flight records obtained by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Based on the flight logs of the two Robinson R44 Raven 1 helicopters,
it appeared that Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, and their elder son, Ang Galing Rep. Juan
Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, virtually controlled the use of the helicopters, based on their frequent trips, DILG officials
told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
Aside from the former first family, their friends from politics,
business, as well as show business, used the helicopters...
There were several times when the flight records showed an “unspecified
The DILG obtained the flight records in the course of its investigation
into the allegedly anomalous purchase of the two secondhand helicopters for almost P105 million.
They were sold as brand new for the PNP’s Special Action
Force, but the PNP had not used them since they were delivered in 2010 due to their questionable condition, according to the
“It is clear to the PNP that this is an irregular transaction.
Until now they are looking for proof of ownership of the seller,” Robredo said, adding his office was still investigating
who were the real owners of the helicopters.
Congressmen’s cut questioned
Members of the House of Representatives and policemen receive substantial
amounts from net receipts of Small Town Lottery (STL) outlets in their areas of jurisdiction, officials of the Philippine
Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said...
Senator Lacson said that while the practice of giving cash directly
to congressmen may be legal based on the current PCSO charter, “there may be questions about propriety.”
The PCSO said lawmakers were receiving 2.25 percent of the monthly
net earnings of the STL outlets in their districts. The proceeds are given in cash and the legislators are not required to
produce documents to liquidate what they receive.
The amount may be in addition to the payola the lawmakers are getting
from operators of “jueteng,” an illegal numbers racket that STL seeks to replace.
Some of lawmakers from Ilocos to Bicol were not only receiving
payoffs, but were directly involved in jueteng, whistle-blower Sandra Cam said in September last year before the House games
and amusement committee.
Cam told reporters that the congressmen were getting a minimum
of P500,000 each...
Customs chief seeks authority for regular
THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) is awaiting approval by the Department
of Finance (DoF) of its proposal to regularly reshuffle its officials and employees in an effort to prevent complacency and
familiarity with importers which could encourage corruption...
In the Customs Administrative Order which BoC submitted to the
DoF, all employees below director level will be reassigned after two years in a post...However, Customs officials and employees
who fail to perform adequately can be removed from their positions even before they complete their prescribed two-year period...
Just last month, the Customs bureau implemented a revamp of its
port staff nationwide, as the agency became flooded by successive smuggling scandals involving luxury vehicles and endangered