Eradicating Corruption Thru 'Sagot Kita Bayan'

Manila Bulletin, August 11, 2014 | Go to article overview

Eradicating Corruption Thru 'Sagot Kita Bayan'


The war against endemic corruption shifts to high gear as a national movement aimed at curbing widespread anomalies in government is now taking shape. Launched last Saturday, Sagot Kita Bayan a movement of various non-government organizations and civil society groups will train and mobilize an extensive network of citizen volunteers to spot corrupt practices and potential sources of thievery in all levels of the government bureaucracy. It is a widespread belief that graft and corruption is most rampant in the governments procurement process, especially in public biddings for projects, goods, and services conducted by the Bids and Awards Committees (BACs) of all government branches, departments, bureaus, independent constitutional bodies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and local governments. It is no secret that even at the start of procurement, when the agency estimate is heavily padded to ensure kickbacks, the procurement process is already tainted with irregularities, leading to rigged bidding, ghost deliveries, substandard products, and other anomalies. As it is, the P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015 suffers from allegations and criticisms because it contains lump-sum appropriations that could be a source of corruption, including P230.4 billion for transport infrastructure and P26 billion for agriculture infrastructure. However, the fact remains that government has to spend money at its disposal. But how it is spent must now be subjected to more intense scrutiny if we are to allay the fears of an awakened citizenry, already disgusted by the multi-billion pork barrel scam, now highly skeptical that thievery in government is hopelessly ingrained and cannot be curtailed. It is essential, therefore, that more concrete steps be undertaken to stop the corruption that has defied solution all these years. Citizen volunteers will be trained to enable them to determine whether a particular project to be bidded by the BAC is legitimate or not. They will become knowledgeable about: RA 9184, an act providing for the modernization, standardization, and regulation of the procurement activities of the Philippines; RA 3019, the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 6713, an act establishing a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees; the Revised Penal Code provisions on malversation and bribery; and the special law on plunder. …

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