Tag Archives: Good Governance

[Featured site] The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Pera natin to

This project and website is built on the belief that corruption in public life will only ever be reduced when ordinary people are able to understand, monitor — and ultimately have a say on where and how public money is spent.

As the subtitle of this website says, it’s our money (pera natin ‘to). Every centavo lost to corruption is a centavo stolen from education, poverty reduction, social services and job creation. Ultimately, beating corruption will result in more inward investment, serious economic development and far fewer people leaving home in search of a better life overseas.

Transparency and accountability are the greatest enemies of corruption – yet despite repeated pledges of action by successive presidents since the end of martial law, neither has played any real part in government anti-graft strategies. Precious few gains have been made with some polls showing people believing public corruption is in fact getting worse.

Corruption, graft, mismanagement and waste all thrive on secrecy. The closed system of Philippine politics and the equally closed system of managing the nation’s public finances suggests little will ever happen if we rely on those in power. Change will only come from moving the nation’s finances out of the shadows and into the light.

This Project and website aims to put under the public spotlight important issues such as control and management of the nation’s public wealth –and keep them there. We cannot wait any more for transparency and accountability to come: We must build both ourselves. Both require public monitoring, debate, advocacy and action. All in turn require information – and lots of it. Equally, we need education since the more we understand the better our monitoring and the more we can expose corruption and waste.

Everybody can and should be involved. Too many anti-corruption initiatives have focused on just one group, interest or sector and failed to realize that real power and change stems from different and disparate communities and people coming together to organize, share knowledge, forge links, build pressure and collectively force change.

The internet, social media – even texting– all provide us with new opportunities to communicate, teach, learn, reach out, link up and mobilize. Corruption will not take generations to defeat. It simply needs people coming together to see that the public interest is constantly and fully served.

So we are working with journalists and media groups across the country as we are with civil society and seeing how each can work to compliment the other: We are reaching out to link to and learn from earlier and other anti-corruption initiatives around the country – just as we are looking to see how other places like Hong Kong have successfully fought public graft.

We also aim to be a space and platform for ordinary people to report and share their stories and experiences of public corruption, secrecy, waste and mismanagement. From discussion and debate come ideas and solutions.

Some of the best ideas may come from those quietly working already in the field of public finance. There is plenty of space for all and there are countless elected officials, civil servants and auditors quietly working around the country for the good of society and not themselves. So finally, through your support, we hope to be a showcase and platform for what works well and best in public finances around the country.

Corruption kills hope, chance and all opportunity. So it is up to each and every one of us to take responsibility and start building the kind of future we all dream of.

As former US Secretary of Health and Education John Gardner famously said: “The citizen can bring our political and government institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable and keep them honest. No one else can.”

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
Partners: IWPR, CCJD, MindaNews and NUJP

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[From the web] A feminist reading of 2012 Sona -RAPPLER.com

A feminist reading of 2012 Sona
by Josephine Acosta-Pasricha, RAPPLER.com
July 28, 2012

I may be wrong or I am incredulously right. Of President Benigno Aquino‘s State of the Nation Addresses, the third is both pro-woman and anti-woman.

Sona III may have high marks of achievement on three areas.

First, transparency, accountability and good governance; savings, due diligence, clear consistent rules, and a fair playing field. The vision of “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”, and the Process of “Daang Matuwid” are diligently observed, at least in the highest levels of government. Those who do not follow are warned and punished, even impeached. Those who do their jobs efficiently and contribute to the achievements of their departments will be given performance ratings. Their yearly bonuses can also go as high as P35,000, besides across-the-board Christmas bonus. Old age and disability pensioners will also receive higher monthly pensions of P5,000 for their basic needs of water, power, food.

Second, the idea of “Bayanihan”, the Filipino translation of “convergence” or the coming together of people to collaborate, network and help each other. Thus, “It is great to be a Filipino”. Within this context, GDP grew by 6.4%, the highest growth in South East Asia; second only to China in the whole of Asia! While Good Governance is defined in terms of agriculture, food production, prices that do not fluctuate, stable wages resulting in a stronger, resilient and dynamic economy that is a defense against global uncertainty.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] EDITORIAL – Full disclosure – PhilStar.com

EDITORIAL – Full disclosure
The Philippine Star
January 14, 2012

 Good governance must be felt at the grassroots, so the role of local governments is crucial. When the country is going to the dogs, part of the blame goes to local governments. Through effective governance, local executives can create pockets of prosperity even when other parts of the country are suffering from mismanagement. Local governments play a key role in promoting tourism, business and industrial growth. The competent ones provide decent education and health care to their constituents, and see to it that communities at all income levels are kept clean and relatively safe.

Competent local executives are aware that they are accountable to the people, and have no problem with efforts to promote transparency particularly in their utilization of public funds. The Department of the Interior and Local Government, in an effort to promote transparency, created a so-called Performance Challenge Fund, which is awarded to local government units that perform well. LGUs are also required by law to fully disclose all financial activities to their constituents, with the information posted on websites, displayed on posters in conspicuous spots within the locality, and published in newspapers of general circulation.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] CL RDC approves P13-B projects- www.journal.com.ph

CL RDC approves P13-B projects
Written by Mamer Bañez

BALER, Aurora – The Regional Development Council of Central Luzon yesterday approved P12.79 billion worth of projects, including a giant dam in Tarlac.

In a full council meeting held at the Juan C. Angara Sports Complex here last Tuesday, the RDC approved five resolutions namely, Phase 2 of the P12.028-billion Balog-Balog Multipurpose project, the P238-million proposed extension of the Enrique Garcia Senior Avenue (EGSA) in Balanga, the conduct of a feasibility study for a P300-million anti-flooding project, the conduct of a feasibility study for the proposed integrated drainage system in Dinalupihan, all in Bataan; and the proposed P228-million widening and extension of the Bigaa-Plaridel national road in Malolos City.
Read full article @ www.journal.com.ph

[In the news] Cayetano wants FOI passage fast-tracked – InterAksyon.com

Cayetano wants FOI passage fast-tracked

MANILA, PhilippinesSenate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said there is a need to fast-track the passage of the Freedom of Information bill, saying a “clean president” or an honest administration are not enough to end corruption in government.

Cayetano also said he was giving the administration the “benefit of the doubt” for again not including the FOI bill among the priority measures endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III to the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council meeting earlier this week.

“Kailangan pabilisin na ito (This needs to be fast-tracked),” Cayetano told a press briefing. “Ang magandang balita naman dito ay ang lahat nagkakasundo na importante ang FOI para na ma-inform ang tao sa kung ano ang nangyayari sa gobyerno at essential ito sa good governance para malabanan ang corruption (The good news is everyone agrees that the FOI is important in informing people about what is happening in government and is essential to good governance so we can fight corruption).”

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com

[In the news] ANALYSIS: Filipinos wait for Aquino to fulfill election promises – Interaksyon.com

ANALYSIS: Filipinos wait for Aquino to fulfill election promises – Interaksyon.com.

Manuel Mogato, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – The question of whether deposed Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos should be buried in a cemetery for national heroes is one President Benigno Aquino III feels he cannot make for the nation that elected him to lead it.

So instead, people can SMS their opinion on where Marcos should be buried, like voting for an American Idol contestant, to help decide the government’s position. And it’s not the only decision Aquino seems to be having trouble making.

A reluctant president who won office in a landslide last year, Aquino has never really got out of campaign mode, fixated on pursuing the former administration and talking of major reforms without yet delivering a substantive agenda.

The danger is that this becomes yet another lost opportunity for the Southeast Asian nation, as investors’ initial optimism on Aquino fades and his main political strength of high personal support weakens.

The government is looking to raise billions of dollars to upgrade infrastructure around the nation of more than 7,000 islands, and says it will make the country more attractive to foreign investors, but details are yet to be fully explained.

“Aquino never really seems willing to expend any political capital on what he believes in or claims to stand for,” said Scott Harrison, managing director of risk consultancy Pacific Strategies & Assessments.

“Whether this is apathy or just another manifestation of his laziness, aversion to work and the rough-and-tumble of politics remains to be seen,” he said, although he did credit Aquino for instituting some ethics in governance.

The stakes are high. Asian Development Bank data shows foreign direct investment in the Philippines last year trailed well behind neighbors Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Weak employment and productivity growth means the country relies on exporting workers overseas, whose remitted income accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product. It also means poverty levels are rising, an anomaly in booming Asia.

The country ranks below most Southeast Asian countries, its main competitors for investment funds, on measures such as competitiveness, ease of doing business and corruption

“Against this backdrop, one key policy challenge is for the government to sustain the higher level of investor confidence built up last year by pushing ahead with policy and governance reforms,” the ADB said in a report last month.

“Another is to raise state revenue so as to fund the social development and infrastructure programs required to reduce poverty and underpin a stronger private sector.”

Aquino is limited to a single, six-year term. He was elected in May 2010 and took office at the end of June.

But it wasn’t until February that a committee to plan the government’s agenda and priorities bills over its term met – and the eventual list did not include bills Aquino had championed, including reproductive health and freedom of information.


“Aquino wanted to do a lot of things, but he has not done anything to carry out these things,” said Earl Parreno, analyst of Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms.

“Now is the time for action, and yet the people has not seen anything concrete from his government. There’s a growing public perception that nothing has changed from the past administration to his government.”

Aquino has been dogged in his campaign to investigate his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and has made some headway with the resignation of the ombudsman, which will allow him to appoint his own graft investigator.

But he seems to have backtracked or lost focus on other issues, and his public opinion ratings have fallen.

Apart from the budget, no major legislation has passed. Each week since July, tax evaders have been named at a weekly press conference, but so far only seven of 45 complaints have made it to court — and no trials have begun.

Last November, Aquino told a conference of potential investors the government would put in place mechanisms to protect their contracts in infrastructure projects, which the government planned to put out from tender from early 2011.

Six months later, no contracts have been awarded, and there has been no legislation to improve protection against regulatory risk – and so foreign investors remain wary for now.

Doubts are also emerging locally. Aquino’s purchase of a second-hand Porsche drew criticism from nearly half of people in an opinion poll, even though he used his own money to buy it.

His poll ratings on areas such as managing the economy, fighting crime and reducing poverty have all fallen, suggesting a broader discontent with his administration.

There could be some change coming. His unsuccessful running mate last year, Mar Roxas, can now join the administration after the expiry last week of the one-year prohibition of losing candidates being appointed to government jobs.

Roxas, an experienced operator who has served as a minister under two presidents, could become Aquino’s chief of staff and troubleshooter, local media report. That could provide Aquino the political smarts he needs to achieve his goals.

“Aquino may not be doing anything wrong, but he has also not done anything good,” said Bobby Evangelista, a cigarette vendor in Manila’s business district. “I haven’t seen any change at all. We remain poor and he has a new car.”

[In the news] Local governments urged to work double time vs malnutrition | Sun.Star

Local governments urged to work double time vs malnutrition | Sun.Star.

LOCAL government units (LGUs) must focus and work double time in addressing malnutrition problems in Eastern Visayas, now that only four years are left before the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a foreign-backed non-government organization said.

Plan International Philippines said the focus now must be on health, particularly malnutrition, as there is still a lot to be done to solve the problem.

“I think the government is trying its best, but there’s a lot to be done before we can really eradicate malnutrition. In Northern Samar alone, the malnutrition rate is 41.3 percent. It is still a long way,” said Dr. Esther Miranda, Plan Visayas consultant on health and nutrition, referring to the 2008 survey result of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

She said the weak participation of parents on the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon, a village-level education drive for mothers of malnourished children, aggravates the problem.

“The participation rate of parents is not really ideal. We are trying to come up with ways to encourage parents because that’s where they get the knowledge on how to rear their children, select and prepare good food, and promote good nutrition,” Miranda said.

In Visayas area, Plan Philippines has been assisting the government’s children welfare program in Southern Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Camotes Island.

“LGU is very cooperative to assist Plan’s initiative, but the way I see it, there are more things that they can do. Like in Samar, they’ve said that in nine years, they have no action plan for nutrition. That’s a long time just to be sitting down come with the fact that many children are malnourished,” Miranda stressed.

The 2008 FNRI survey showed that 26.4 percent of children in Eastern Visayas ages 0 to 5 years old are underweight.

The MDG targets to reduce the malnutrition rate to 18.9 percent by 2015 from 37.8 percent in 1998.

“I agree that there’s a need for LGUs to work double time. They should make a nutrition action plan and implement it soon,” National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional program coordinator Carina Santiago said.

One of the NNC initiatives for this year is to gather local chief executives and discuss how to reduce malnutrition rate in the local level. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

[In the news] 25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines—Twenty-five aspirants to the top post at the Office of the Ombudsman have accepted their nominations, according to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Among the nominees are Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who is set to retire in June, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, Alternative Law Group head Marlon Manuel and Free Legal Assistance Group Chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman, now acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, is also among the nominees. He was nominated by evangelist Mike Velarde.

But of the 25, Morales has been reported to be President Benigno Aquino III’s top choice for the post. She swore in Aquino as president during his inauguration in June 2010.

The JBC said Morales was nominated by retired judge and head of the Transparency International Philippines Dolores Español, retired judge Leticia Sablan of the Women Lawyers’ Association of the Philippines Inc. and University of the Philippines Law Alumni Association Class of 1968 President Beda Fajardo.

Those who declined their nomination were retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Maria Theresa Acosta, Pedro Aquino, Wilberto Candelaria, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Lawyer Arno Sanidad.

The 25 are hoping to replace Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned last May 6.

RA 6770 (Ombudsman law) requires the Ombudsman to be “natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 40 years old, of recognized probity and independence, member of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidate for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding election whether regular or special.”

The Ombudsman, who has a fixed term of seven years, must also have at least 10 years of experience as a judge or law practitioner in the Philippines.

The country only had four since the 1987 Constitution was drafted. They are the late Conrado Vasquez Sr., Aniano Desierto, Simeon Marcelo, and Gutierrez.

The JBC, who screens applicants to the judiciary and the office of the Ombudsman, will convene on May 23.

[In the news] ‘Sandiganbayan justices should resign’ | The Philippine Star News Headlines

‘Sandiganbayan justices should resign’ | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – A party-list lawmaker will file a resolution at the House of Representatives today, calling for the resignation of all justices of the Sandiganbayan in the wake of its approval of the plea bargaining agreement between government prosecutors and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said he will file the resolution to condemn the move of the justices of the anti-graft body.

“We want Congress to support this because of the strong evidence against Garcia,” Casiño said in a media forum in San Juan City this morning.

He also warned concerned justices that they would likely suffer the fate of Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez, who was forced to resign from her post late last month.

“We started with the Ombudsman, probably we can also start with the Sandibayan justices,” he pointed out.

He said Sandiganbayan’s decision upholding the plea deal was expected as it had allowed Garcia to post bail.

“We we’re not totally surprised because Sandiganbayan earlier has allowed Garcia to post bail,” he said.

Casiño added that the move of the Sandiganbayan justices preempts the legal remedies on the Garcia case that should have been used by the next Ombudsman.

Read full article @ Philstar.com

[In the news] 5 good news and 5 not-so-good news about PPP | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

5 good news and 5 not-so-good news about PPP | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

MANILA, Philippines – Almost six (6) months since the launch of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino Administration, there are still many issues on PPP which have been left unanswered.

5 Good News. Since the launch of the PPP last November 18, 2010:

1. Five (5) PPP projects have been prioritized and will be subjected to bidding within the year. These are the P6.3 billion Metro Rail Transit Line 3, the P7.7 billion Light Railway Transit Line 1, the P1.6 billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway link road, the P10.6 billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase 2, and the P21 billion North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road.  The selection process for the service contractor for the first two (2) projects – MRT3 and LRT1 has already commenced.

2. A lot of countries have signified support for the Philippine PPP initiative. These are China, U.S.A., United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, India, Korea, Qatar, UAE, Doha, and Abu Dhabi. Foreign governments and investors have manifested their desire to invest in the Philippines. International donor and financing agencies have likewise extended their technical and financial support for the flagship program of President Aquino.

3. The local private sector is also abuzz over PPPs. About 44 investors sent their expressions of interest to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the MRT3 and LRT1 projects. A number of unsolicited proposals are in the pipeline and the proponents are awaiting directions from the concerned government agencies regarding their viability and suitability for PPP. There are proposals for development and financing of airports, seaports, roads, energy, water supply and distribution, land development, health services, among others.

4. PPP initiatives from the public sector abound both at the national and local levels. The Philippines has been named as the center for PPP excellence for health. More than 100 PPP projects were identified as priorities by the various departments of government. At the local government level, the Province of Camarines Sur adopted its own guidelines for provincial joint ventures and leases, and provided for incentives and tax exemption privileges to PPP investors.

5. Aside from project financing that will be provided by banks and financial institutions, public financing schemes are about to be put in place to fund the PPP projects. Budgets for some PPPs are already in the General Appropriations Act, including a P300 million revolving fund for the PPP Center (formerly BOT Center). An additional single borrower’s limit has been set by the Bangko Sentral for PPP infrastructure projects. Bond flotation, investment by government insurance systems and financial institutions, creation of a Philippine Infrastructure Financing Corporation, and the establishment of a Philippine Infrastructure Development Fund are being considered.

Read full article @ ABS-CBNnews.com

[In the news] Sagip GUBAT pushes for forest resources bill – www.manilatimes.net


By Aira Simon Haribon Foundation

ON April 27, 2011, Sagipin ang Ugat ng Buhay at Tubig (Sagip GUBAT), a national network of forests conservation advocates promoting management of forest resources through the passage of Forest Resources Bill (FRB) was launched.

The campaign was convened by Haribon Foundation, Greenresearch Environmental Research Group, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental society and Save Sierra Madre Network and joined by various civil society groups and individuals. Speakers during the event include: professor Blas Tabaranza Jr., Haribon Foundation’s Technical Adviser, congressmen and principal authors of FRB: Rep.Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr. and Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, Greenresearch’s Gwen Borcena, Save Sierra Madre Network’s chairman, Father Pete Montallana, Green Convergence’s Nina Galang, Phil. Association for Intercultural Development’s Samson Pedragosa and Environment Sec. Ramon Paje.

Sagip GUBAT aims to raise awareness on the urgency to protect our remaining natural forests and value its ecological services instead of exploiting it for profit. It chiefly calls for the enactment of sustainable Forest Resources Bill (FRB). According to Defensor, “Forest Resources Bill is not only an environmental conservation cause . . . it starts with the basic understanding and appreciation of a vital resource, which is water, and centered on the attainment of the most important of all social conditions, which is food security,” and added, “one of the biggest problems our county is facing today is water, either the lack of it, or too much of it . . . it is only through water control and utilization that we are able to achieve genuine food security. Verily, the Forest Resources Bill, and the conservation and protection of the watershed it ensures, is the keystone of any water control and utilization policy”.

As for Baguilat, who also chairs the National Cultural Communities committee of the House of Representatives, forests not only provides water but serves as home to Indigenous Peoples, “Deforest the remaining watersheds and we scatter the Mangyans, Aetas, Dumagats, Cordilllerans, and other indigenous peoples who subsist on the forests. We take away their source of food and the provider of many of their needs like shelter, livelihood, health and spirituality.”

The major provisions of FRB includes the protection of all natural forests, primary and secondary; the adoption of an ecological-based definition of forest; the addition of a restoration area classification instead of a protection-production dichotomy; the integration of watershed continuum-based forest management; and the empowerment of local governments and communities in forest governance. Sarmiento said, “The essence of FRB comes close to the City Development Strategies employed by many cities in the country where the vision and mission of a city is jointly crafted by its officials and constituents. It is not planning for the people but basically planning with the people. It is earnestly hoped that with the enactment of Forest Resources Bill, our forests are put back where they truly belong.”

Sagip GUBAT network is composed of Alyansa Tigil Mina, Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw (BALAOD Mindanaw), Greenresearch Environmental Research Group, Haribon Foundation, La Liga Policy Institute, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, One Organic Movement, Philippine Association for Intercultural Development, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society-Save Sierra Madre Network and Tribal Center for Development.