Duterte to Cabinet: ‘Complete projects before my term ends’

President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded his Cabinet secretaries to ensure that all the projects in their respective departments will be completed before his term ends in 2022.

In a speech in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato on January 10, 2020, the President told his Cabinet to avoid pursuing projects that cannot be done in his remaining years in office.

“Unfortunately though, two years na lang ako. Pero gawin ko. Sabi ko sa lahat ng secretary ng mga departamento (I only have two years left. But I will do my job. I told all department secretaries, ‘Do not go into projects which you cannot finish within the two-year time left for me in office,’” Duterte said.

“Gusto ko, kagaya nung mayor ako. Lahat ng projects ko calibrated in the sense na pagdating ng panahon, pag-alis ko sa opisina malinis lahat (I want it done, just like what happened when I was mayor. All my projects were calibrated in the sense that when I vacate the office, everything was done),” he added.

Duterte has sought to maximize the use of his “available” powers to ensure the full and effective implementation of his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

Around PHP9 trillion has been earmarked for the implementation of some 100 key infrastructure projects and over 10,000 small infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Around 38 out of the revised list of 100 flagship infrastructure projects would be completed by 2022, while 22 are “partially operational or substantially completed” and the remaining 40 would be done “beyond 2022.”

Duterte has also repeatedly vowed to cut red tape, which has bred corruption throughout the government.

He has persistently ordered all state agencies to simplify procedures and fast-track public transactions to make it easier for the public to do business with the government.

In July 2019, Duterte called out the Land Transportation Office, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, Land Registration Authority, the Pag-IBIG housing fund due to the continuing existence of red tape in their respective offices.

In his latest remarks, Duterte said he is closely monitoring all the transactions in government to make sure that public funds are being utilized correctly.

He also renewed his warning that he would not tolerate all public officials and employees who are involved in irregular activities.

“Wala akong ginawa kung hindi mag-audit ng performance pati saan ‘yung pera. Sinusundan ko ‘yan (I always audit the performance and the funds used. I am monitoring it),” he said.

“‘Pagka may (If there is) corruption, I will not give you the time of the day. You have to pack up and go,” Duterte added.

In November 2019, Duterte ordered all government offices to complete paperwork by mid-December the same year

A month after, the Chief Executive directed state departments and offices to finish all public transactions just in hours.

As of Dec. 2019, around 21 government agencies and two local government units have complied with the President’s directive by submitting the lists of their pending contracts, state-run Anti-Red Tape Authority said earlier this month.

Duterte in May 2018 signed Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 to address the slow-paced transactions in government.

RA 11032, which supplants RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, introduces simplified requirements and streamlines procedures in the processing of government documents.

ARTA is planning to implement this month the National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficiency Measures of Interrelated Agencies (NEHEMIA), a program that seeks to streamline and reengineer inter-agency processes affecting priority sectors of economic and social significance.

NEHEMIA is expected to reduce costs and steps of government agencies by 52 percent in 52 weeks in 2020. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)