Government’s heightened anti-corruption drive bears fruits

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) recently reported that heightened efforts in addressing corruption over the past year have revealed billions of pesos in misused public funds which led to the prosecution of erring officials.

PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez, however, said there is still much work to be done.

Jimenez went on to name the “three H’s” or agencies his office has identified as the most corrupt and were involved in channeling billions of pesos in “anomalous” transactions.

These “three H” are “housing” from the lack of housing units intended for residents affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda; “health” from the alleged numerous scams in PhilHealth; and “highways” for placing in the third spot after being named as the most corrupt agency last year.

ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE. PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez presents his report on corruption statistics during the yearly ‘Ulat sa Bayan’ of the commission in Intramuros, Manila on Oct. 14, 2019. He said heightened efforts to address corruption led to the prosecution of erring officials.

Twelve officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) have since been recommended to the President for the filing of criminal charges in connection to the anomalies in the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program.

It has also been found that a sole contractor was awarded the contract for the construction of housing units amounting to PHP741.53 million.

In the case of PhilHealth, overpayment, falsification of records and abuse of policy have resulted in a loss of an estimated PHP153.7 billion for the government.

The commission has also found that the Rural Health Stations under the Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) only produced 270 out of the planned 5,700 rural health units.

The PACC has also established fact-finding investigations on cases, lifestyle checks for government employees and the creation of special investigating panels to further eradicate corruption within the government.

Jimenez said that they have been receiving more complaints compared to last year, indicating that the public now trusts the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

He also said that local government units (LGUs) “top the list of the most number of corruption complaints received by our office this year”.

Jimenez, however, conceded that for the vision of a clean government to be realized “change must begin from within”.

In response to a question posed by President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address of when corruption will stop, he said that the country “needs a cultural and moral revolution”.

The PACC was formed through Executive Order 43 to investigate and gather evidence for a referral to the Ombudsman against public officials accused of corruption. (Adrian Carlo Herico, PNA)