“The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.” John W. Gardner, US Secretary of Health and Education, 1965-68
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Prof. Boncodin, in one of the forums she had appeared in to help people understand the the national budget and what people could do to protect it from corruption and wastage.
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The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project and the Pera Natin ‘To! website are made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this website and the views expressed herein are solely the responsibility of the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project and the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government or the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Welcome to the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
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. READ MORE
What the SONA Should Signal About Transparency and Accountability
Commentary by the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Speeches and signs: President Noynoy faces huge public expectation on his second SONA on July 25, among which is a firmer message and plan towards better transparency and accountability in government. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
Without question, carrying the desires and expectations of a nation upon one’s shoulders is a huge burden and the challenge of combating corruption a Herculean task. Cynics might even claim it Sisyphean after the Corinthian king set the unavailing task of pushing an immense rock up a mountain for all eternity.
Yet whereas Hercules and Sisyphus labored alone, President Noynoy Aquino can call on a small army of secretaries, civil servants and advisers to help him. How useful they are in his quest of course depends partly on the level of leadership and quality of instructions given. Finally, whereas the tasks set on Hercules and Sisyphus were purely physical, President Aquino has the harder challenge and is faced with changing traditions and patterns of behavior that are deeply rooted: For sure too, there are powerful vested interests which are working – perhaps even conspiring– to hinder attempts to build a more transparent and accountable public sector.
Whereabouts and Proper Auditing of Millions in National Government Funds Given to Kidapawan City is Being Demanded
By Carlo C. Agamon
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
"Your honors": Members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod discuss the whereabouts of millions of pesos channeled from national government agencies to the Kidapawan city government from 2008 to 2009. CARLO AGAMON
KIDAPAWAN CITY – People here are beginning to question exactly how the city government actually spent an estimated PhP 77 million (USD 1.83 million) which different government agencies reportedly channeled to the city.
According to Kidapawan City Councilor Lauro Taynan Jr., the sum was reportedly transferred to the city government coffers between 2008 and 2009.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP or City Council), councilor Tayman said the city’s chief executive and some departmental heads who would have had a direct hand in the planning and implementation of different nationally funded infrastructure projects, should be made to appear before the SP and say how the money was actually spent.
Extravagances at the Cagayan de Oro Water Board Lead to Moves to Turn it into a Cooperative
By Cong Corrales
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Nothing to hide? The Cagayan de Oro Water District is now under public scrutiny for alleged excesses of its board directors, including hefty honorariums. Courtesy of http://bit.ly/na938w
The proposed 30 percent water rate increase—pending at the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)—proposed by the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) on June 1, 2011 has revived calls to turn the facility into a cooperative.
“We will fight this increase. We will be forced to intervene since water is a very basic service. I’m not against turning the water district into a cooperative,” said city councilor Alden Bacal -- present chair of the committee on public utilities -- while past committee chair Ian Mark Nacaya said discussion on the proposal to turn the COWD into a consumers’ cooperative should be made and studied again in view of the planned increase in water rates.
The pronouncements came after Roman Catholic Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and his group Bishop-Businessmen's Conference (BBC) asked the Commission on Audit (COA) for copies of its reports on the COWD's finances from 2007 to 2010. The group wants to examine the finances of the facility and its management.
By Rick R. Flores in Davao and the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project in Manila
Friday, 15 July 2011
Important port: The Ombudsman reportedly found early this year "compelling evidence" of corruption among customs officials at the Port of Davao, but has not put any news about this yet. KEITH BACONGCO
DAVAO CITY -- Tany, a resident of Barangay Tibungco, has spent the past 17 years working as a porter at Sasa Wharf - one of the country’s top-earning sea ports that is the main gateway for traffic in and out of Southern Mindanao. Despite this, Tany (not his real name) says he barely manages to earn enough to put food on the table for his family.
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) watched as Tany, weathering stiff competition from his colleagues, finally managed to pocket a PhP 100 (about USD 2) payment for carrying two bags for a Super Ferry passenger heading to Zamboanga City. “Now I can buy rice,” the 48-year old stocky worker says.
Conditional Cash Transfer Program - Is Money Being Skimmed Off?
By Antonio M. Manaytay
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Slashed cash? Beneficiaries of the government's conditional cash transfer program in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay wait for their turn to receive cash. Some however said certain amounts were cut from their grant for unknown reasons. ANTONIO MANAYTAY
TUNGAWAN, Zamboanga Sibugay -- For Marvelyn Bosque, the cash grant she receives as beneficiary of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program is a big help for them in sending their children to school.
The 47-year-old mother of three, whose husband is a seasonal farm worker in Barangay Baluran told the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) that the money has “done so much for our children’s needs in school.”
“Dili lang para sa akong pamilya pero kanamong tanan sa kumunidad makita gyud nga ganahan mo na mo-eskwela ang mga bata (Not only for my family but the whole community as well our children have shown greater interest to go to school),” she says.
Tax mess: The local government in Calbayog City owes the national government PhP 56 million because of the failure of its previous leaders to remit collections from employees to BIR for three years. Courtesy of www.lawphil.net
CALBAYOG CITY -- Just as people here continue to ask who was behind the killing of Mayor Reynaldo Uy two months ago, so they are still wondering how it is that the city treasury effectively owes PhP 56 million (USD 1.3 million) to the national government after failing to remit tax revenues from 2007 to 2010.
But it seems discrepancies in remitting claimed taxes appear to date back even further.
The collection scandal has reportedly been an open secret among many of the 1,000 plus employees of the local government unit here who maintain deductions payable and due to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the likes of the Pag-Ibig Fund were neither properly collected nor passed on.
Serious About Fighting Corruption? So Pass FOI Bill
Commentary by Red Batario
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Deterrent to corruption: Adocates say that public access to government records would make officials and employees extra careful in the performance of their duties. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
We have had a Right to Information bill languishing in the legislative mill now for more than a decade; we have a new president vociferous in his claims that his administration stands for greater transparency and accountability – and yet it is Mongolia not the Philippines that last month joined the ever-growing list of countries to have passed such a law.
Whichever way we try and gloss over it, a government that does not prioritize such an act cannot in all honesty be seen as being fully committed to the cause of transparency and accountability.
Excuses for delay can always found by those seeking them.
Anti-Corruption Employees’ Unions Claim Victory As LWUA Chief is Ordered Dismissed and Disqualified
By Vincent Michael Borneo
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
'Water boy' Prospero Pichay: The first agency head to be dismissed for alleged corruption under the new administration. Photo courtesy of www. texaninthephilippines.com
When former Congressman and ‘showman’ Prospero Pichay Jr. accepted the chairmanship of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) a year after losing badly in the 2007 national elections, people thought that this was an extremely small consolation prize from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It was a very low-profile position for one who had risen so far and hitherto enjoyed high profile positions with the blessing of his boss.
Pichay had at first refused to be appointed to the LWUA board on August 28, 2008. Yet just one week later he changed his mind and proudly announced how he had accepted his appointment “as the government’s water boy for LWUA board membership with a nomination to be elected as chairman.”
On his defeat, Pichay had first been offered the post as administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). But organizations of migrant workers and recruitment agencies vigorously opposed this plan.
Going to the LWUA appeared a major step back for him given Pichay had been the representative of Surigao del Sur’s first district for nine years (1998-2007). While there, he had been chair of the House Committee on National Defense (2001-2004), before subsequently heading up the House contingent to the Commission on Appointments (2004-2007).
Engaging Citizens – The Government’s Record One Year On
By Bernadette Reyes
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
The Pera ng Bayan website: venue where citizens can take part in helping put an end to corruption.
Launched last August in a fanfare of publicity as part of the new administration’s campaign to combat corruption, the crowd-sourcing Pera ng Bayan (Money of the People) website set up by the Department of Finance (DOF) generated an initial and immediate flood of reports filed by concerned citizens.
The initiative was largely billed at the time by the media as a vehicle designed to help reduce corruption in government departments -- specifically erring public officials from the DOF and its affiliated agencies, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
DepEd in Taguig Counter-Charges Against ‘Whistleblower’
By Rorie R. Fajardo
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
(Part 2 of 2)
Corruption-free? DepEd officials in Taguig City deny any irregularities in the bidding processes for school building projects, but it is not known yet whether somebody from the DepEd Central Office is looking deeper into it. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
Claims that some senior officials at the Department of Education (DepEd) in Taguig City have been conspiring to defraud the public purse by fixing bidding contracts for new school buildings are being flatly denied by top officials there who say their colleague who complained of corruption is actually the one guilty of extorting “huge” sums of money from contractors while she served secretariat member of the division office’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
In a six-page comment addressed to the DepEd Central Office and dated April 18, the Division Office in Taguig City insisted there were no irregularities in the procurement process. The comment written by Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Superintendent Dr. Meleda Polita maintained that the division’s accuser was actually the one responsible for corruption.
DepEd ‘Whistleblower’ in Taguig Alleges Serial Corruption in School Building Program
By Rorie R. Fajardo
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
(Part 1 of 2)
Money out of school building projects? Bidding for the construction of public school buildings, like this one, is a lucrative source of kickbacks for several DepEd Division officials in Taguig City, alleges an informant. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), the country’s online procurement portal that is widely touted and cited as a model for other countries to follow, has apparently failed to protect the bidding process from corruption within the Department of Education (DepEd) and other public agencies in Taguig City.
A ‘whistleblower’ and rank-and-file employee of DepEd in Taguig City says that she was part of an illegal consortium that fixed contracts and that the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members of the local government’s procurement department, along with several local DepEd officials have been in collusion with favored contractors in the construction of school buildings in exchange for large kickbacks.
Panglao International Airport Finally to Happen as a PPP After Public Funds Earmarked Were 'Lost'
By Ric V. Obedencio in Bohol and the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project in Manila
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
On this site will rise: Bohol may finally see its own international airport in this portion of Panglao Island after almost two decades of changing plans and seemingly lost funds. RIC V. OBEDENCIO
PANGLAO, Bohol -- Nearly 20 years after the idea was first proposed, Bohol finally seems set to have its own international airport located on the tourist island of Panglao.
The airport is to be built as part of the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) plan with a public invitation to bid due out in August.
Local political leaders from governors down have long campaigned for a replacement of the small and heavily congested domestic airport located less than a mile from Tagbilaran City on the neighboring island of Bohol. The proposed new airport lies across the causeway and is a 40-minute drive away from the city.
While the first of our two end-of project surveys has just been posted, the results coming in already make for some very interesting reading. This survey largely centers on which direction you think the fight for greater transparency and accountability is headed in the Philippines and what you think is currently present, necessary or missing in thinking, plans and action. READ MORE
The People’s Budget – It’s Up To us to Really Make It So
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Senate Bill 2186 or the People's Participation in Budget Deliberations Act is a very welcome move in the fight against corruption and graft and the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project was lucky enough to see it first a few weeks ago and be tapped for our own opinions on it. READ MORE
Truth Telling as We Remember the Lessons from EDSA
Monday, 21 February 2011
Former state auditor Heidi Mendoza’s message to the public at the Valentine’s Day forum where she was key speaker was very timely given we are just days away from marking the 25th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and ushered in democracy. READ MORE
The Public Watch
Saturday, 19 February 2011
It is encouraging to see the Senate Conference Room on February 18 filled with students, nuns, socialites, activists, CSO workers and other concerned citizens who are all wanting to follow the continuing Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on alleged corruption within the Armed Forces of the Philippines. READ MORE
Thursday, 03 February 2011
We have a true ‘soldier’ in the form of anti-corruption fighter Heidi Mendoza –we just need to encourage more people like her to step forward and join her army. READ MORE
In the National – Not Personal Interest
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
‘Basic fair play, decency, good manners and right conduct.’ These words appeared in a well-argued column yesterday by William M. Esposo, the self-styled Chair-wrecker from the Philippine Star. READ MORE
Poor Budgeting, Too Many Contingency, and Special Purpose Funds and ‘Savings’ – All A Recipe For Corruption
Tuesday, 01 February 2011
Without commenting on who is charging what about whom in the AFP right now, it is not difficult to see how pabaon (send-off money) scandals can so easily happen. Blue Ribbon Committee hearings and politicians talk incessantly about slush-funds - and they seem to feature in every high level case of alleged corruption: But as yet, we don’t seem to link the ubiquitous slush funds with the ubiquitous and hugely discretionary contingency and special purpose funds (and dare we say it again, the PDAF/Pork Barrel Allocations) which are written into national budgets and approved by legislative committees year after year.” READ MORE
Officials Ignoring DILG Orders to Stop Personalizing Public Projects
Friday, 21 January 2011
A public-spirited citizen from Samar has just sent us in a series of photos and a complaint that government officials there appear to be in clear breach of a circular from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) banning the use of “names or initials and/or images or pictures of government officials in billboards and signages of government programs and projects.” READ MORE
The Good and Bad News from TI’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer
Sadly the Supreme Court ruling on the legality of the Truth Commission comes as no surprise. We put ‘sadly’ not for the reasons that some might think – that many claim the Court to be biased against the Aquino government. It is ‘sad’ because it was perfectly clear back in May that any attempt to set up a commission which would only look at the alleged misdeeds of the Arroyo administration was a very poorly judged one. It suggested the move was much more about politics than it was about addressing the root of the problem of corruption in the Philippines. READ MORE
University Budget Cuts – Fact or Fiction and the Media’s Mission To Explain
29 November 2010
Opinion is critical and freedom of expression an inalienable (natural) right. Too is the right to information and often we assume they are the same thing. Yet information is essentially data and fact. Unfortunately, too much reporting the world over is poorly rooted in fact and too heavily in opinion and hearsay. READ MORE
Open Budget, Open Government
29 November 2010
Government officials, members of civil society organization workers, academic experts, business people and international development agencies met on Saturday November 20 in Pasig City to sign an agreement in a bid to make government budgets more open. READ MORE
Transparency in Government Contracts to Big Business and Consultancies
22 November 2010
“We are beginning to learn who works where, what departments spend and who are the big business recipients of taxpayers’ money,” journalists from the UK Guardian wrote last Friday in response to the latest release of financial details by the British Government. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 10th budget reporting training in Bohol June 30
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 10th training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 30 at the JJ’s Seafood Village in Tagbilaran City in Bohol. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 9th budget transparency reporting training in Kidapawan City June 6
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 9th training on advanced and anti-corruption reporting dubbed as “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 6 at Boylyn Pension Plaza in Kidapawan City. The training was made possible with the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the technical assistance of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). READ MORE
PPTRP holds 8th budget reporting training in Pampanga June 3
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 8th training on advanced and anti-corruption reporting dubbed as “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 3 at the Social Action Center of Pampanga in San Fernando City, Pampanga. READ MORE
PPTRP-supported Local Transparency Groups Share Experiences in Reporting, Fighting Corruption
Three local transparency reporting groups which the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) supported and helped establish gathered on June 3 in Bohol to share experiences in building transparency and accountability in their respective communities. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 7th budget reporting training in Davao City May 27
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its seventh training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on May 27 at the Ateneo De Davao in Davao City. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 6th budget transparency reporting in Dipolog City May 23
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 6th training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on May 23 at the Top Plaza Hotel in Dipolog City. READ MORE
PPTRP meets with editors and columnists May 18 to discuss media coverage of public corruption
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project met with editors and columnists of selected national and international media organizations May 18 in Manila to discuss current media behavior and thinking in relation to public corruption and transparency. READ MORE
Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, the former CEO of the Philippine Forest Corporation who later disclosed explosive information on the anomalous USD 329 million NBN-ZTE deal that nearly brought down the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, shared his views May 9 with the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project on continuing the fight against corruption and for genuine transparency under the new administration. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 5th budget reporting training in Ozamiz City April 26
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project held its fifth training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on April 26 at the Naomi’s Botanical Gardens in Ozamiz City. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 4th training on budget reporting in CDO April 2
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its fourth training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on April 2 in Cagayan de Oro City. READ MORE
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