“Tuwid na Daan” or the Straight Path is a phrase repeatedly mentioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III to pertain to his governance direction for the country.
Essential to this concept of “Tuwid na Daan” is the battle cry “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.” The administration believes that corruption is the root cause of the country’s woes, and eliminating corruption will necessarily lead to renewed investor confidence, eventual growth and development, poverty reduction, and attainment of peace.
The straight path, however, does not only pertain to the President’s anti-corruption campaign. It also encompasses a way of doing things right, where the process is participatory; the programs are holistic; growth is sustained; the peace policy is comprehensive; and development is sustainable. Through the living examples of our leaders, led by the President, this re-awakened sense of right and wrong continues to be translated to economic value.
It is in this light that the accomplishments of the Aquino Administration, since the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2010, are being highlighted:
A. GOOD GOVERNANCE AND ANTI-CORRUPTION
Taking the initial step in the achievement of “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”, where eradicating corruption is seen as the key approach to development, President Aquino laid the foundations for a clean, transparent, and responsive government. Key reforms continue to be instituted to reduce red tape, enforce anti-corruption and anti-red tape laws, and penalize those who violate these laws. The government is also fixing the incentive structures to recognize merit and reward good performance with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the Aquino reform agenda. These and other initiatives are presented below:
1. Institutionalizing Public Accountability
1.1. Reforming the budgeting and project identification processes
1.1.1. Government’s prudent expenditure management was a result of the use of the Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) approach in 2010. The ZBB enables the government to identify and terminate programs that are no longer delivering intended outcomes. The savings generated from these terminated programs were channelled to programs that are performing well and to other priority programs to address critical gaps in education and health. As part of the ZBB approach, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is also gradually transferring Special Purpose Funds back to the departments for greater accountability and making the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) more transparent.
Due to the prudent management of public funds, the government has been able to provide P12 billion in funding for other key social and economic services that were not included in the 2011 General Appropriations Act, including:
- P850 million for the salaries of 10,000 registered nurses hired and deployed to poor rural communities in the country;
- P4.2 billion to build 20,000 houses for the military and the police; and
- P423 million for the acquisition of the US Hamilton-class cutter, which will help strengthen the perimeter security within the Malampaya area
1.1.2. In an effort to address issues about the quality of road projects, the Road Board strengthened the identification and selection of projects funded by the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge through the proper use of the Highway Development Management version 4 (HDM-4), a planning tool that prioritizes or selects projects based on actual needs and economic considerations.
The Road Board also implemented standard unit costs nationwide that is 30% lower than previous cost estimates; and clearly defined the design and specification of its projects to make these conform to international standards, where previously, Programs of Work were not required.
1.1.3. The President directed the DBM to establish a comprehensive database of government manpower through an enhanced Government Manpower Information System (GMIS). The GMIS shall provide a complete and accurate database of all positions, incumbents, and authorized compensation in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the government, including Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Government Financial Institutions (GFIs), and Constitutional Offices. The GMIS shall also be linked with the personnel information systems of concerned agencies such as the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
1.1.4. To eliminate wasteful spending and fund conversion in the military, the DBM changed its previous policy of releasing Personnel Services (PS) allotments in full to agencies. Now, releases of PS are done for filled positions only. This means that no amount is released to the agencies on top of their actual PS requirement.
1.1.5. Moreover, the DBM launched on 20 July 2011 the Electronic Transparency and Accountability in Lump-sum Fund System (eTAILS). The eTAILS is a management information system that digitizes the processing of lump-sum funds and supports the timely disclosure of lump sum fund release information on the DBM website. This helps the government keep track of information on the release, while enabling the public to scrutinize how their money is being allocated.
1.2. Upholding transparent and competitive bidding
Allegations of collusion in the bidding of public works projects are being addressed through transparency reforms and strict adherence to public bidding rules. The DPWH now posts all projects on its website. The DPWH has also simplified bidding procedures by reducing the required 20 documents to just five (5) documents. It has also adopted a new cost structure for determining the approved budget cost (ABC), which minimizes leakage by reducing the allocation for indirect costs by as much as 8%. To cite an example, the DPWH was able to bid out the 7.53-km Plaridel By-pass Road Contract Package No. 2 in Bulacan for only P543 million in 2010, at one-third of the cost of the slightly longer 7.93-km Contract Package No. 1 that was bid out in July 2008. While the two projects are of the same road specifications, the cost of Contract Package No. 1 was 8.5% above the approved agency estimate while Contract Package No. 2 cost 23% lower than the agency estimate, saving a total of P163.2 million.
As a result of these reforms, the DPWH generated savings of P2.51 billion in taxpayers’ money from the 3,692 projects (civil works, goods, and consultancy services) from July 2010 to June 2011. The DPWH expects total savings of roughly P6 to P7 billion by the end of this year as a result of transparent and competitive bidding. The savings can then be utilized for other priority development projects.
The P2.51 billion savings generated by the DPWH includes the P1.07 billion saved from the review and bidding of contracts under the Post-Ondoy and Pepeng Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (POPSTIRP).
On 26 May 2010, the DPWH was granted a loan by the JICA worth P5.05 billion for 79 contract packages under the POPSTIRP. Of these contracts, 19 were cancelled due to lapses in the process. The 19 contracts were approved and signed even prior to the release of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the project, which is against government procurement laws.
Likewise, the government has conducted open and competitive bidding for the reinsurance needs of the National Power Corporation (NPC), the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC). This generated savings amounting to over US$8 million or about P370 million from the lower bids of the winning re-insurers compared to the approved budget for the contract and last year’s premium. Moreover, the insured agencies get improved coverage by having lower deductibles that allow them to claim for losses or damages at lower participation limits.
1.3. Ensuring transparency and accountability in local governance
1.3.1. The DILG’s full disclosure policy, issued in August 2010, required all Local Government Units (LGUs) to be transparent to the public by posting in local bulletin boards, newspapers, and websites information on the utilization of government funds and the implementation of projects. As of 31 May 2011, a total of 1,473 LGUs (68 provinces, 119 cities and 1,286 municipalities) or 86% of the 1,714 LGUs nationwide have fully complied with this policy. For purposes of transparency, the DBM also posted the annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) from 2006 to 2010 per region from the provincial down to the barangay level on its website.
1.3.2. The DILG also awarded the LGU Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to LGUs that have earned the Seal of Good Housekeeping. These LGUs have exhibited strong performance along the four (4) core governance areas, as follows:
- Sound fiscal management, i.e., growth in local revenues over three (3) years, and no adverse report from the Commission on Audit (COA);
- Transparency and accountability, i.e., strict adherence to the full disclosure policy, transparent procurement process, compliance with Anti-Red Tape Law, and functioning local special bodies; and
- Valuing of performance monitoring, i.e., use of performance monitoring tools and regular reports to the public.
- Good planning, i.e., having a comprehensive development plan and an Executive-Legislative Agenda;
In 2010, 30 or 4.85% of the 619 4th to 6th class municipalities successfully obtained the Seal of Good Housekeeping.
Beginning 2011, the coverage of the PCF was expanded to all provinces, cities and municipalities. Assessment is now ongoing and is focused on the COA audit opinion for CY 2010 and the posting of local budget and finances, bids, and public offerings. As of 17 June 2011, 13 or 46.43% of the 28 4th to 5th class cities and 218 or 35.22% of the 619 4th to 6th class municipalities subjected to assessment may now be conferred with the Seal and have the chance to get the PCF.
1.4. Providing quality service lanes to fast-track the provision of frontline services
1.4.1. In 2010, the Citizen’s Charter of the PNP was recognized by the CSC as one of the fully compliant government agencies implementing RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007.
Also, the DILG Project Comprehensive Response to Eliminate (CURE) Red Tape in the LGUs is successfully being implemented at the local level wherein 94% or 1,613 LGUs (consisting of 75 provinces, 121 cities, and 1,417 municipalities) of the 1,714 LGUs nationwide have their respective citizen’s charters, public assistance or complaint desks, one-stop shops and/or courtesy lanes, thus improving the efficiency and effectiveness of LGUs in the delivery of basic goods and services.
1.4.2. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also improved its mechanisms for redress. From 2010 until the first quarter of 2011, 91,828 consumer complaints were received by its Consumer Welfare Desk, 90,577 or 98.7% of which were resolved.
2. Addressing Graft and Corruption
2.1. Addressing allegations of corruption in the military and implementing reforms in the AFP.
2.1.1. In order to ensure transparency in the use of funds, apart from regular audits, the AFP has conducted five (5) unprogrammed or special audits on cash examinations and retiring special disbursing officers. Three (3) of these are on-going, one (1) report is being drafted, and one (1) completed.
The AFP-Office of Ethical Standard and Public Accountability (OESPA) noted 100% compliance with accountability measures, such as the filing of SALNs. In compliance with the rules and regulations to minimize discretion on government deposits, particularly in line with the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No. 338, the AFP transferred a total of P159 million of the residual UN Reimbursement Fund (UNRF) to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) on 28 February 2011. To date, the total UNRF amount deposited with the BTr is P426 million. Moreover, all reimbursements from the UN are now directly being deposited to the BTr by the DFA.
2.1.2. From July 2010 to June 2011, the AFP filed cases before the Sandiganbayan against 31 AFP officers for corruption-related charges while the cases of 21 AFP officers are with the Office of the Ombudsman.
2.1.3. The government also pursued the cleansing of the AFP Retired and Veterans Pension Lists, which resulted in fund recoveries amounting to P4.685 billion. This amount was used to pay government’s current pension obligations and arrears to the veterans and pensioners. Moreover, through the anti-fixer campaign, three (3) Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) employees have been dismissed, 27 cases have been filed, and three (3) cases resolved.
2.1.4. On 14 June 2011, the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs (ODESLA) formally charged Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit with acts and/or omissions constituting graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust. The case involves her entering into a Plea Bargaining Agreement with Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, wherein Gen. Garcia was allowed to plea to the lesser offense of indirect bribery and facilitating money laundering. The Ombudsman also ordered Gen. Garcia to restore to the government the amount of P135 million despite being accused of plundering P350 million.
Special Prosecutor Sulit was placed under preventive suspension for 90 days. The Office of the President will form a panel that will conduct the formal investigation on the case.
2.2. Addressing abuses and irregularities in government agencies
2.2.1. Arrested the abuses and funds misuse in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). An Audit of the ARMM Office of the Regional Governor covering the period January 2008 to September 2009 revealed that the funds received by the ORG for its operations were not properly utilized and managed and that transactions amounting to P1.003 billion could not be considered as valid and legitimate. Also, a total of P866.51 million in cash advances, or 80% of total disbursements made by the ORG, were released to the disbursing officers, in violation of the general rule that payments must be made by check.
As a result of these findings, the current ORG stopped the payment order against all checks drawable against the bank accounts of the ARMM Regional Government, terminated all contractual and co-terminus employees hired by the previous Regional Governor, conducted inventory reports on personnel and assets, and posted bids and awards and the ARMM budget on the ARMM website.
Likewise, the DILG recommended the filing of administrative charges against some ARMM officials and personnel for dishonesty, abuse of authority, gross misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The DILG also recommended the filing of criminal cases because of the abuse of regional government resources.
An audit of the Province of Maguindanao had similar findings: that financial transactions amounting to P865.88 million were considered to be fictitious, as these were either denied by suppliers or supported with spurious documents.
Meanwhile, the DPWH-ARMM failed to properly utilize, manage, and record public funds amounting to P1.12 billion. Moreover, the COA found that the utilization of funds and implementation of programs and projects by the ARMM Social Fund Project – Project Monitoring Office (ASFP-PMO) fell short of the desired improvements as the purpose intended was not maximized and the implementation was found deficient.
A DILG-proposed roadmap aims to bring ARMM to the sustainable path of good governance. This entails the strengthening of bureaucratic reforms, sustained transparency and performance, improved ORG oversight and assistance to LGUs, stricter COA and Civil Service Commission (CSC) oversight on ARMM and LGU implementation of development projects, stepped up peace and order initiatives, and reforms in the electoral process.
The postponement of the August 2011 ARMM elections (as mandated by RA 10153) will provide an opportunity for ARMM to pursue this roadmap.
2.2.2. Suspended Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) officials. The Office of the Ombudsman found the LWUA Chairman and two other officers of the LWUA guilty of Grave Misconduct and of violating Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) for the alleged unlawful investment of LWUA funds in the amount of P780 million in Express Savings Bank, Inc. (EXSBI), without securing prior approval of the Monetary Board. On 4 July 2011, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of the LWUA Chairman and the two LWUA officers.
Administrative complaints were also lodged with the Office of the President against five members of the LWUA Board of Trustees, including the Chairman, for grave misconduct arising from the acquisition of shares of stock of EXSBI. The Office of the President placed the members of the Board of Trustees on preventive suspension for 90 days.
2.2.3. Rationalized GOCC bonuses. Early in the term of President Aquino, the administration discovered that officers and board members of several GOCCs enjoyed questionable bonuses and allowances. For example, a COA report disclosed that Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) employees received more than P150 million in improperly authorized allowances and bonuses in 2009. Also, the current Board of the PNCC has reviewed actions by the previous members of the Board who allegedly benefited from undue privileges and bonuses during their tenure. The current PNCC Board has also reduced manpower, terminated unnecessary positions, and rationalized administrative and support services. These cost-saving measures and reforms have resulted in the reduction of monthly expenses from about P22 million to P11 million.
The President thus ordered a comprehensive review culminating in the signing of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011. The Act strengthens government’s oversight of GOCCs through the creation of a Governance Commission for GOCCs.
As a result of the Department of Finance’s (DOF) better oversight, GOCCs remitted a total of P34.47 billion to the national government, inclusive of P27.29 billion in dividends, as of May 2011. This is one of the highest remittances made by GOCCs to date. In contrast, GOCC remittances in 2010 amounted to 26.99 billion.
2.2.4. Reforming the National Food Authority (NFA). The Food Staples Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program and NFA Roadmap were formulated to attain self-sufficiency in the country’s staple and to implement fundamental reforms in NFA Operations. NFA’s role is focused at maintaining buffer stocks of rice (30 days) and providing price support to small farmers. Stocks for buffer stocking are accumulated by increasing domestic procurement while reducing the volume of importation by encouraging the private sector to participate more on importation. NFA’s policy of “buy high-store long-sell low” has shifted to a policy where NFA selling prices of rice are gradually increased to approach market levels with social welfare agencies handling subsidized rice if needed but buying stocks from NFA at market prices.
A system audit was conducted with the help of the private sector in order to evaluate the previous administration’s unusually large NFA rice importations and evaluate the agency’s legacy problems, with the end in view of not only ferreting out the truth but to recommend prescriptive measures to rehabilitate and strengthen the NFA.
2.3. Investigation of Disadvantageous Projects and Contracts
2.3.1. Addressed PCSO’s exorbitant spending for advertisements. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) overspent its advertising budget by more than P2.14 billion from 2004 to 2010. To conceal the expenses, parts of the amounts were debited to different accounts. Despite COA’s repeated recommendations to cut PCSO’s advertising expenses, the former PCSO Board still authorized more advertising expenses during the campaign period. The PCSO also sponsored concerts and produced a full length movie. These were done despite having unrecorded payables to TV, radio, and other media companies in the amount of P740 million. As a result of these anomalies, the current PCSO Board stopped the production of the television dramas, which saved P110 million; and, reduced its 2011 advertising budget by 40.8% from P928.3 million to P549.02 million. The current PCSO board was also able to obtain a 25% discount on all outstanding and valid advertising contracts. The savings from these reductions can now be rechanneled to more meaningful charitable projects.
The PCSO also spent an estimated P325 million for its intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010. The intelligence funds were allegedly used to pay for anti-jueteng operations, blood money, and for other discretionary uses. This practice has been discontinued by the present Board.
2.3.2. Cancellation of the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project. On 17 June 2011, the President cancelled the P18.5 billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP) due to inconsistencies between the project components and its intended objectives; and the lack of transparency in the review and approval of the project. A DENR study found out that due to heavy deforestation and erosion, the areas to be dredged would end up being silted again in three (3) years without massive rehabilitation of the watersheds. The DENR further noted that the approval of the supply contract was done without any thorough review. In addition, the Project’s Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of 7.04%, which considers only the project’s quantified economic benefits, does not meet the 15% minimum hurdle rate or the minimum acceptable rate of return. In the end, despite the laudable objectives, the questionable project components of the LLRP justified its cancellation.
2.3.3. Reviewed the anomalous procurement of second-hand helicopters for the PNP Special Action Force. In 2009, the PNP procured three (3) Light Police Operational Helicopters (LPOH) for P104.99 million on the assumption that these were brand new. However, in 2011, the PNP Directorate for Logistics discovered that two (2) helicopters supplied by the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corporation (MAPTRA) were previously owned by Asian Spirit, which leased the same to Lion Air, Inc. The PNP further discovered that two (2) helicopters, which were supposedly brand new, were used for five (5) years prior with flying times of 536.3 hours and 489.9 hours, respectively.
The PNP Procurement Office also failed to recognize that MAPTRA was not an eligible supplier because it was just a newly-registered corporation at the time it transacted with the PNP. Thus, it had no record yet of completing a single contract similar to the contract to bid and of good standing as a supplier, which are requirements set by the law. There was also an absence of authorized observers during the entire procurement process. Lastly, the members of the inspection and acceptance committee (IAC) failed to exercise their duties with diligence as they did not possess the technical qualifications to perform the duty of the IAC that resulted in the acceptance of inferior goods.
2.4. Increasing Civil Society Participation in Governance
2.4.1. Implemented participatory budgeting. Six (6) national government agencies and three (3) GOCCs have piloted participatory budgeting with civil society organizations (CSOs), namely: the Department of Agriculture (DA); the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); the Department of Education (DepEd); the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the Department of Health (DOH); the DPWH; the National Housing Authority (NHA); the NFA; and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC). Participatory budgeting helps increase governance transparency by engaging CSOs in the determination of the expenditure priorities of government.
The DPWH conducted its first CSO budget consultation for FY 2012 on 28 April 2011. CSO participation included the review, assessment, and evaluation of DPWH projects programmed for 2012. A Budget Partnership Agreement (BPA) was signed between the DPWH and “Bantay Lansangan” (Roadwatch) on 15 March 2011 to ensure a continuous budget consultation process with the private sector. As of May 2011, at least 46 CSOs had been accredited as partners of the DPWH, while 52 others had pending accreditations prior to their submission and completion of the required documents.
2.4.2. Forging an integrity pact between government and the private sector. A private sector initiative to forge a pact of integrity between the government and the private sector is rapidly gaining momentum. As of June 2011, ten (10) agencies have signed on to the Integrity Initiative, namely: DTI, DBM, DepEd, DOF, DOLE, DND, DPWH, DOT, DOE, and DOTC as well as 550 private companies. The Integrity Initiative aims to reduce corruption in the public and private sectors through the voluntary enforcement of good governance norms based on a mutually agreed code of conduct. Agencies will soon ask suppliers and bidders to sign on to their agency integrity pacts.
On 22 February 2011, the DepEd forged an integrity pact with more than 80 of its suppliers and civil society partners to promote ethical, clean, and transparent business transactions, particularly with regard to the procurement of basic education goods and services.
2.4.3. Entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with civil society groups and non-government organizations (NGOs) on the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program. As of 22 July 2011, 222 national and local non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) signed a MOA with the DSWD to empower their active participation in the implementation of the CCT Program to ensure good governance and transparency.
2.4.4. Invited CSO participation in monitoring infrastructure projects. The DPWH has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a broad coalition of CSOs, NGOs, church organizations, and the academe for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of DPWH projects.
3. Professional, Motivated, and Energized Bureaucracy and Armed Forces
The government is committed to support the combat readiness and effectiveness of the Armed Forces; recruitment and retention of quality personnel; and upliftment of soldier morale and family wellness.
From July 2010 to June 2011, a total of P21.37 million was used to repair and maintain various AFP housing units; P39.60 million was also released for the housing assistance of AFP battle casualties; another P15.19 million has been released to support AFP battle casualties; and a total of 4,535 dependents of killed in action/wounded in action were awarded educational assistance.
3.1. The President committed to provide at least 20,000 housing units for the AFP and PNP in 2011. In this light, Administrative Order (AO) No. 9 “Directing the National Housing Authority to Formulate, Implement and Manage a Housing Program for the Military and Police Personnel” was issued on 11 April 2011, which authorized the NHA to adopt the Community Initiative Approach Program (CIAP) to implement the housing program.
Under the NHA’s Socialized Housing Program, a soldier with a rank of Private, receiving a P400 monthly quarters allowance, will now be able to acquire a housing unit in any of the twelve (12) housing project sites in Brgys. (1) Buena Vista and (2) Biclatan in Gen. Trias, Cavite; (3) Brgy. Conchu, Trece Martires, Cavite; (4) Brgy. Timbao, Biņan City, Laguna; and Brgys. (5) Looc and (6) Kay-Anlog in Calamba City, Laguna; (7) Brgy. Gaya-Gaya, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan; (8) Brgy. San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan; and Brgys. (9) Batia and (10) Tambubong in Bocaue, Bulacan; and (11) Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal and (12) Brgy. San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal. A housing beneficiary is required to pay the housing unit for 30 years, with a monthly amortization of at least P200.00 for the first five (5) years. The Aquino Administration will subsidize P35,000.00 for each housing beneficiary.
The ground breaking of the AFP-PNP Housing Project in Barangay Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan was held on 23 May 2011. The first 4,000 Certificates of Land Entitlement and Lot Allotment (CELA) were awarded and 90 housing units were turned over to AFP and PNP personnel in Brgy. Looc, Calamba City, Laguna; Brgy. Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan; Brgy. Gaya-Gaya, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; and Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal on 15 July 2011.
3.2. The President signed EO No. 15 on 20 December 2010, which increased the current combat duty pay of soldiers from P240 to P500 effective January 2011.
3.3. To further unify and strengthen the AFP, the President issued Presidential Proclamation No. 75 granting amnesty to individuals who participated in the 25 July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines Stand Off, and the 29 November 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel Incident.
4. Revenue Generation Enforcement
In his first SONA, the President pledged that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) would file weekly cases against tax evaders and smugglers. Through the implementation of the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) of the BIR and the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) of the BOC, the leaks in the government’s coffers continue to be plugged. Moreover, the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) investigated allegations of corruption in the DOF and its attached agencies.
4.1. The current administration intensified the implementation of its RATE program that in just one year, the tax evasion cases filed with the DOJ reached almost half of the 129 cases filed during the previous administration. From July 2010 to 07 July 2011, the BIR was able to file 55 tax evasion cases, involving a total taxable amount of over P22 billion.
4.2. As of 19 July 2011, filed with the DOJ 39 criminal cases involving 179 suspected smugglers with a total dutiable value of P54 billion. Of the 39 cases, one (1) has been filed in court, 21 have been submitted for resolution by the DOJ, seven (7) are under preliminary investigation, while 10 are up for preliminary investigation.
4.3. As of 19 July 2011, the DOF has filed 86 cases against allegedly corrupt government employees before the Office of the Ombudsman since 2003. A total of 53 officials have been suspended since the beginning of the RIPS program in 2003, 17 were suspended under President Aquino’s watch. A total of 19 officials have been dismissed from the service since 2003, three (3) of whom were dismissed under the term of President Aquino.
5. Making the Country an Attractive Investment Location.
5.1. Streamlined business name registration. The DTI successfully implemented measures to reduce the time span of business name registration from an average of 4 to 8 hours to within 15 minutes. The Enhanced Business Name Registration System (EBNRS) simplified the application process by reducing the required information fields from 36 to 18, resulting in the reduction of the application form from nine (9) pages to a single page.
5.2. Streamlined issuance of local government business permits. The DILG also signed a Joint Memorandum Circular with the DTI to streamline the Business Permits and Licensing System (BPLS) of 480 priority cities, capital towns, and municipalities from 2010 to 2012. Out of these 480 priority LGUs, 18% or 86 LGUs have already streamlined their BPLS. Meanwhile, for all 1,634 cities and municipalities in the country, at least 21% are ready for the streamlining of their BPLS.
As a result, LGUs utilizing the new and improved BPLS offer better service to applicants for business permits in their respective areas of jurisdiction. LGUs are encouraged to use a single or unified form in every transaction, with a maximum of five (5) steps and five (5) signatories. The outcome is a “Business Friendly LGU” that offers reduced processing time for business permits and licenses, i.e., 10 days or less processing time for new applications and five days for license renewals.
5.3. Developed an electronic payment system. The PEZA has completed the development of an Electronic Payment System for four (4) out of five (5) selected transactions of PEZA enterprises. PEZA’s E-payment System is a cashless payment solution that allows clients to pay for transactions with PEZA online, 24 hours a day, and from anywhere. This system promotes greater transparency and efficiency.
5.4. Promoted competition. The President issued EO 45 on 9 June 2011, designating the DOJ as the Competition Authority. This will encourage competition and open markets. EO 45 mandates the DOJ to conduct investigations, enforce competition laws, and prosecute violators. It also authorizes the DOJ to supervise competition in the markets; monitor and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in the markets; and to call on government agencies to submit reports and provide assistance to the agency. With this EO, the government will be able to strengthen its enforcement of existing antitrust laws and policies to promote a level playing field, while Congress deliberates on the pending antitrust bills.