“President Duterte’s unwavering political resolve to defeat corruption and bring about positive change makes our efforts all worthwhile” – Carlos Dominguez III
On the 14th May 2018, the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections are scheduled to take place in the Philippines. Therefore the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) are preparing elections. This is the local elections for the local government, meaning wards and municipalities are preparing for the coming elections, where mayors, councilors and governors are elected. Therefore, this is vital for the local democracy and the city halls. Also for the parties and the citizens as a whole to see the state of affairs and the leadership. If they need renewal of the incumbents or need new blood to generate change. If the citizens locally can change out the old and get fresh eyes to local questions and budgets. To secure better service delivery.
The good news from the Central Government and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are preparing this for the election and future leadership of the Local Government:
“As part of the DILG’s preparations for the forthcoming Barangay Elections this May, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Ano is directing all incumbent punong barangays to conduct an inventory of barangay financial records and properties under their custody from the start of their term of office up to the present” (…) “Ano issued the directive this early to ensure smooth and systematic transition from the outgoing barangay officials to the incoming newly elected or re-elected barangay officials come June 30” (…) “This is also part of our efforts to sustain transparent and accountable local governance at the barangay level and to further ensure that all concerned barangay officials exercise due diligence in using barangay funds and properties,” he said” (…) “Under the directive, a Barangay Inventory Team (BIT) shall be created in each barangay to be chaired by the punong barangay. Its members shall include at least two kagawads, a barangay secretary, a barangay treasurer, a bookkeeper or city or municipal representative, and at least two civil society organization (CSO) representatives, preferably from a faith-based organization or members of the Barangay Development Council” (…) “Part of the functions of the BIT is to ensure the completeness of all barangay properties, financial records and documents (BPFRDs). BPFRDs include legislative and administrative records, transcript or minutes of meetings, list and status of complaints filed before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, updated registry of barangay inhabitants, list or inventory of current local or international development assisted projects, and all other documents containing barangay transactions” (DILG, 2018).
So this directive made by Minister Eduardo Ano is clearly setting up guidelines and the protocols to secure the funds of the Local Government. The new officials will have to keep the books and records of spending or financial transactions. This so the local officials cannot embezzle and misuse the public funds. This is yet another measure to stop corrupt behavior by President Rodrigo Duterte who has already established an Anti-Corruption Commission or the Philippines Truth Commission (PTC) in October 2017. The Philippines already have the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), who was established in 2003 to also combat corruption, but this is made strictly for the ill-behavior in the Department of Finance. You also have the Office of the Ombudsman who has a mandate, which is specified to this: “The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties (Sec. 15, R.A. No. 6770)” (Ombudsman.gov.ph – about us – Mandate). Final institution to look into the Finances and Assets of the Government concerning corruption is the Commission of Audit, the Komisyon ng Pangsuri. Which is also mandated to examine, audit and settle all accounts of the government. Check if the local authorities are following procedure or if they have overpaid for their services.
So Ano with the directive with Local BIT within every Barangay plus the already sufficient monitoring agents of RIPS, Ombudsman, COA and PTC. There should be such amount of measures to stop graft, corruption and kickbacks. Even if someone will always try to use their power for favors, build the most fantastic house in field outside of town or just making sure Mayor can use the ATM at the City Hall more than anyone else. Now they have the BIT to make sure the jobs of COA, Ombudsman and PTC is easier. Since the Barangay has to make sure their portfolio and their assets are verified before a transition. The local government has to deliver stocks, accounts and the lists of properties. To prove what they do have and not hide funds away from the Central Government. Clearly, this is a trick to make sure the Public Officials doesn’t misuse or hide information, values that the tax-payer pays for or even funds that embezzled from the public coffers.
If mayors or Barangay officials has misused funds and cannot account for the funds before the election. There are several bodies that can investigate it and if it is big enough, the Department of Finance might send others too. What this is a sign off, is that the Philippines are trying to tackle the amounts of corruption and known behavior it has had in the past and present. So that all the different parts of the government has to use even more effort to be able to get away with corruption. That the state now even makes list of inventory, funds and assets in general at the Barangay level. Proves the will of combating it and using stronger means stop it. It isn’t just words, since it is done right before elections. Therefore, the bragging lists and the possible truths of stocks can come forward. Because if the Barangay officials lie and someone else get elected. Finds nothing in the account. Clearly, its starting to report the previous local official to either of the bodies fighting corruption. So that the Barangay can get back the funds and assets the previous ones took from the state. Peace.
DILG – ‘Año to brgy chiefs: Prepare inventory for turnover to next brgy officials’ (08.02.2018) link: http://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/Ao-to-brgy-chiefs-Prepare-inventory-for-turnover-to-next-brgy-officials/NC-2018-1017