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Philippines: DILG’s directive of creating a BIT registry will make it harder for the Barangay’s officials to eat the money!

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.

Reference:

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

Opinion: Bribes are NRM’s M.O. during elections, however EC Chairman Byabakama says its a “evil partner”.

Today I am writing about certain comments made by the guy that took over the Election Commission after Dr. Badru Kiggundu, he is legend for his ways and his math. So Dr. Kiggundu will not be forgotten, that is why I have struggled to take this fellow serious. Because Kiggundu destroyed the EC and made it look like a foolish organization filled with cronies who has a love-affair with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. That is true and therefore, all By-Elections since the General Elections 2016 have been in favor of National Resistance Movement (NRM), except Kyadondo East, which Bobi Wine topped with his huge star-power and speeches. So that Justice Simon Byabakama hasn’t been on my radar. This because the NRM has controlled and in-certain themselves in the by-election, where the opposition parties and independents has no control. Byabakama couldn’t do anything wrong and the NRM can just do whatever. That is how it has been for various reasons, but the NRM are really not trying to have a multi-party state, that is just a piece of flesh on the bone for donor-aid, but not for reality.

So before I rant, here is the statements on the EC Boss I will discuss today:

According to Byabakama, bribery has become an evil partner with elections in Uganda. “But we are made to understand that bribery has become an evil partner with elections in this country, this undermines the quality of democracy,” he said” (…) “The law says an election result can be cancelled on grounds of bribery, despite the amount involved” (…) “Can you imagine an exercise that has cost the stakeholders, including security about sh1b being cancelled because of sh1,000 or a sachet of waragi or bar of soap? Do we really have to go to the school of economics to understand that this is not tenable in economic terms?” Byamukama wondered” (Nambogga, 2018)

Well, Byabakama have been under a rock or not followed what the party that appointed him and anointed him to become Electoral Commission Chairperson. That the Chairperson didn’t know how the ruling regime and the ruling party has acted during elections. It isn’t only misuse the army and the police as a political tool during elections. All of the state coffers and reserves are used.

Therefore, that the Chairperson Byabakama are now saying bribes are bad. He should start discussing this with the Entebbe State House. Who has sanctions the give-aways to Pastors, Residential District Commanders and others who was getting Prado’s and SUV’s within days of the Election. That is the big buys of loyalty and bribes.

The others are the voter tourism, a definition that came about because between 2015 and 2016, the NRM party and their organizers hired buses, paid t-shirts and food for villagers to bigger local rallies. They even gave smaller sums of cash to the people to listen to Museveni and the group of musicians that was also paid massively for their campaigning for the President. It is sort of hard to forget the massive amounts of shillings spent on the Campaigning of the President. Only for November 2015, the NRM Party spent massively 125bn shillings. That is something one report said and could calculate. The other months up-to February 2016. Can question the whole spending of the NRM. Every single rally before the February 2016 was biggest breaches of bribery of voters. It’s like the Chairman was blind to this or was himself in Finland while it was happening.

The evil partner of bribery is built in the system of corrupt behavior from the State House. They misuse all parts of government and all parts of society. If there isn’t loyalty, it can be shut-down. That is how Museveni works.

So my question to Byabakama: Will you ask His Excellency, if the Party has any plans of stopping to bribe the public every time there is an election?

If you do? Can you also get the New Vision to publish that too? So we can again see how to-faced Museveni is. Thanks. Peace.

Reference:

Nambogga, Jackie – ‘EC Boss warns against bribery in politics’ (04.02.2018) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1470404/ec-boss-warns-bribery-politics

ZANU-PF preparing for Elections as in previous years – giving posh cars to Chiefs!

The are scheduled for General Election in September 2018. This has the new President Emmerson Mnangagwa after the ousting of 37 years of Robert Mugabe in November 2017. The new Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government, which is installed with help of the army and has initial ministries run by important military leaders. Clearly, they are gearing up to secure their livelihood and their future.

So over the weekend there are reports that the Crocodile is planning to do what the Goblin used to do. Pay off the cultural leaders and tribal chiefs of the Republic. Since they have asked for the same benefits as the Cabinet Ministers and Principals Secretaries, who are all getting posh-cars for their service and being in government. The same sort of corrupt activity is something the chiefs wants too. Therefore, this January 2018, shows that ZANU-PF is still the same. Just another figurehead. ED is acting just like Mugabe did. Nothing changes, except the for the name of the Presidency. The act of giving away 280 posh cars is something good old Bob would have done if he still was in power.

In January 2018:

The President assured all other chiefs that they will get their cars before this year’s harmonised elections. There are 52 cars here today. 26 more will arrive next week and so on. All of you will get their cars before elections but today we will distribute 48 cars, six cars per province,” said Cde Mnangagwa” (…) “I am the one who invited you to this conference. I know that it was supposed to be me visiting each one of you but I realised that you are 280 and if I had to meet one of you every week, it would take me three years to complete. I know that you might be aware of what has happened to our country but I felt it was proper for me to officially brief you on the situation. Yes I am now the new President of Zimbabwe after former President [Robert] Mugabe resigned on 21 November 2017, paving way for my swearing in on 24 November,” he said.” (ZBC, 2018)

That is how ED has done it. Now we can see how Bob did it in his day. This is just in recent years. Not even digging deep into the scandals and the cars that has been given away. Here is some reports from 2012 and 2014. That shows what happen this weekend. Could easily happen in the past. Therefore, ED doesn’t do anything different from what Bob did in his day. That should concern Zimbabweans, who thought ED would bring something new, sorry brother, he brings more of the same.

In July 2012:

As if taking a cue from cabinet ministers, the force recently purchased the 2012 models of top of the range vehicles like the BMW 328i series saloon cars, Range Rover Sports, Nissan Navara LE double cabs to latest Ford Ranger LXT and double cab Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for senior officers. The delivery of vehicles comes hard on the heels of cabinet’s outrageous splash of over US$20 million for the purchase of Mercedes Benz E280s for ministers, Land Rover Discovery 4 TDis for deputy ministers, and Jeep Cherokees and Range Rovers for permanent secretaries late last year” (…) “Other senior civil servants like principal directors and directors now drive the latest Isuzu KB300Dtec double cabs while parliamentarians have received either Isuzu 300Dtec or Mazda BT50 double cabs. The police took delivery of the vehicles in the last six weeks but the cars have remained out of the public eye since they are unmarked and have no registration plates. The Zimbabwe Independent saw the new fleet parked at the designated senior officers’ parking bays at Police General Headquarters in Harare. Sources revealed that the saloon cars and SUVs were bought for senior officers from the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) to Commissioners and the Commissioner-General” (Zimbabwe Independent, 2012).

In December 2012:

The government is set to spend almost $9 million on an unbudgeted traditional chiefs’ vehicle scheme after a Parliamentary portfolio committee recommended that each of them receive $35 000 instead of $18 000 to buy vehicles. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government recommended that the 250 traditional chiefs should be allocated $35 000 each to procure vehicles of their choice, as their terms of office were much longer than those of MPs” (Zimbabwe Situation, 2012).

In October 2014:

Harare – President Robert Mugabe’s broke government is set to splash $ 11 million on off-road vehicles to appease the increasingly vocal chiefs who want to be feted like kings” (…) “On Tuesday, Finance Minster Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament that Treasury was seized with the cheifs’ request off-roader vehicles – 280 Ford Rangers – whose price averages $50,000 at local dealership” (Zvauya, 2014).

So as in 2012 and 2014, that the government are giving traditional chiefs cars for millions of US Dollars. They are doing the same in 2018. Just that its ED instead of Bob doing so. There is no difference in it and the reason behind it. The Traditional Chiefs are getting it months in advance of coming election. To make sure their loyalty to ZANU-PF is still there and taken care off. There is no gifts without a pink slip. The chiefs are getting it, because then they are in the debt of the ruling party. ED knows this and the chiefs knows this. Bob knew that too, when he was doing similar and promising similar gifts to them.

The are promises to be made and also policy changes, but this fit the ordinary pattern of Bob. Only under the new flagship sponsored also by the military leadership who toppled him. ED should be careful, but with this act during the weekend. He was just acting in the same way as Bob. For all the matters of the Traditional Chiefs, he could be Bob. If they get cars from ED or Bob is the same. They are still payed off and paid for loyalty. Not for service delivery, but for staying loyal to the ZANU-PF and the ruling regime as it is. Peace.

Reference:

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Company (ZBC) – ‘Chiefs receive cars’ (13.01.2017) link: http://www.zbc.co.zw/?p=71486

Zimbabwe Situation – ‘Chiefs cars to gobble $9 million’ (18.12.2012) link: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_chiefs-cars-to-gobble-9-million-newsday-zimbabwe/

Zimbabwe Independent – ‘ZRP splashes on luxury cars’ (07.06.2012) link: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2012/06/07/zrp-splashes-on-luxury-cars/

Zvauya, Chengetai – ‘Govt to splash $11m on chiefs’ vehicles’ (04.10.2014) link: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2014/10/04/govt-to-splash-11m-on-chiefs-vehicles

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