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7 MARCH 2009
ARROYO ADMINISTRATION HAS MOST NUMBER OF ANTI-CORRUPTION INITIATIVES
MANILA--The Arroyo administration has instituted the most number of anti-corruption initiatives in the history of the country.
Thus pointed out Press Secretary Cerge Remonde in his latest weekly column.
Entitled “Anti-Corruption Measures,” Remonde’s piece stressed, thus: “If you think that the Arroyo administration has been insincere in its fight against graft and corruption, take note: Records would show that this administration has the most number of anti-corruption initiatives that this country has ever seen before, during, and after the Marcos regime.”
Remonde further pointed out that the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo “also has the most notable achievements in the fight against shenanigans in government.”
The Press Secretary enumerated eight such initiatives, among others,namely: the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program; the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) program; the Lifestyle Check program; the establishment of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Task Force (PASTF); the Integrity Development Review; the Electronic Procurement System; the Pro-Performance System; the Contractors Performance Evaluation; the Electronic New Government Accounting System.
“In the fight against corruption, the Arroyo Administration has been focused on punitive and preventive measures, as well as in the promotion of zero tolerance for corruption,” added Remonde.
“It (the Arroyo administration) has also gone into partnerships with vigilant non-government institutions and media in exposing, detailing and prosecuting cases of corruption,” he said.
The administration’s vigilance in its anti-corruption efforts has so far penalized some 121 high-ranking government officials since 2001: “A total of 71 officials were dismissed, 23 were suspended, seven were reprimanded, and 20 given accessory penalties.”
Remonde also cited three anti-red tape and institutional development measures which have so far improved government services delivery: the Philippines Business Registry Project (PBRP) which harmonizes business registration processes; the Electronic Sanitary and Phytosanitary Certification System (ESPCS) which allows regulatory agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA) to automate applications through on-line forms, and allows importers to track the status of their applications; and the One-Stop Shop Centers (OSSC) all over the country which “simplify rules and reduce reportorial requirements.”
The Press Secretary also stressed that the “performance of government frontline services has also been enhanced through the reduction to half the number of signatures, days/hours of processing, and/or steps/procedures.
“For instance, business registration and licensing take only seven-nine days from 45-60 days,” he said, pointing out that the increase in the number of reported cases of corruption stems from the people’s increased vigilance in reporting such cases, “mainly because of the various measures and reforms the government has laid down to bring culprits to justice.”
“As you can see, we are well-armed in the fight against corruption, but if we just leave the fighting to government without the full cooperation of the people, then the war would take a little longer,” he added.
Under the government’s RATE program, 90 cases have been filed, 67 of which are now pending with the Department of Justice (DOJ); 13 are pending before the courts; four have been referred back to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for further evaluation; and six have been dismissed.
“Under the RATS program, 46 new lawyers were hired to beef up the legal services of the Bureau of Customs (BOC). As a result, 78 criminal cases have been filed against 349 respondents covering shipments valued at P1.7 billion.
Remonde also cited the hiring of additional field investigators for the Office of the Ombudsman for the increase in its annual conviction rate for criminal cases from 19 percent in 2006 to 77 percent in 2007.
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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