During his 18 years as mayor of Naga City, current Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was always known as a champion of transparency, accountability and people participation. One just has to visit their city’s official website to see that all financial transactions, biddings and purchases made by the city government are posted for the general public to see and scrutinize.
Gov. LRay blocks transparency and full disclosure policy
While different national organizations such as the League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, League of Provinces and the Transparency and Accountability Network strongly supported and hailed this move by the DILG, one of Robredo’s long-time political rivals in Camarines Sur, Governor LRay Villafuerte, submitted a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) asking the SC to declare this memorandum as unconstitutional.
Running for the Senate in 2013?
Is politics also in play here? As we all know, Gov. Villafuerte has been the governor of Camarines Sur since 2004 thus, this is his last term in office. Is this perhaps his way of trying to gain national exposure for a reported plan to run for the Senate in the 2013 elections?
Anomalies found in official COA Report of Camarines Sur
A check on the official 2009 Commission of Audit (COA) Report on Camarines Sur’s financial statements would show several alleged anomalies. Allow me to quote some of these findings:
a.) Collections in the Sports Center (Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex-CWC) were not turned over to the treasurer/cashier within the period stated under Section 29 of the Manual on New Government Accounting System (NGAS), Volume 1, thus, exposing government funds to possible loss, misuse or misappropriation. Government funds were used in the development and construction of the CWC.
b.) Cash advances to officers and employees amounting to P 23.96 Million remained unliquidated at the end of the year thereby raising doubts on whether the purpose of these cash advances have been served.
c.) Donations amounting to P 132.50 Million were incurred for programs and activities undertaken by the Provincial Social and Services Office (PSSO) without approved program/activity designs and established criteria.
d.) The province paid P 6.71 Million for security services without public bidding, contrary to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9184, thereby raising doubts on the propriety and economy of this transaction.
e.) The province incurred an overdraft of P 168 Million as of December 31,2009. An overdraft amount means an overspending by the local government that is beyond their total collected funds for the fiscal year. This finding is contrary to the claims of the local government of Camarines Sur that it continues to be profitable.
Are these alleged anomalies the reason why Gov. LRay Villafuerte is hell bent on stopping the full disclosure policy that is being implemented by the DILG with the support of local government organizations as well as both houses of Congress? What is he hiding? If he is spending his public funds properly then why would he be afraid to show it to the general public?
If there is one thing that I really miss right now, its all the activity and excitement that happened during the last elections. One just has to go his or her Facebook account to see how much people were so into the elections with people campaigning for their chosen candidates while sometimes even maligning their rivals. Some even went to the extent of creating fictitious Facebook accounts just to be able to use these accounts to attack their chosen candidate’s rivals, I know this for a fact since I got some nasty messages on my Facebook wall from obviously fictitious people.
Now that the smoke has cleared and President Noynoy Aquino is almost through with his first 2 months, many of us who went all out to campaign and support various candidates have now gone back to resuming our normal lives, business as usual so to speak. Yet, many of us tend to forget that the elections which always tends to be the more exciting part in governance is just the beginning of our quest for good governance and ethical leadership in our country. The greater challenge for us now is to not waste this new chance given to us to help shape a more effective, ethical and empowerimg government. We need to make sure that we continue to support, engage and hold our leaders accountable to their campaign promises and platforms.
Many of us complain about how corrupt the Arroyo administration was but unless we all do our own share in making our democracy work by consistently engaging our government institutions and leaders, our quest for a clean and honest government may yet end up in failure. Let us remember that if we don’t make them feel that we are watching them, many of our corrupt leaders are just waiting for their chance to once again grab power and go back to their usual ways of making government their own personal money making business. It is up to ordinary Filipinos like you and me to ensure that we slowly but surely weed out these corrupt leaders that have led our country to being the perennial cellar dwellers of Asia.
Last elections people power took the form of vote power, now, people power should move each one of us to ensuring that transparency, accountabilty and genuine reforms will be put in place in our government. Yes, the elections were exciting and the actual governing maybe the boring part but its the boring part which is actually more important and fundamental if we want our nation to finally move out of poverty towards a better life for every Filipino.
For those who are currently looking for ways to engage government and help promote good governance, we invite you to be a volunteer of Kaya Natin, you can read more about us at http://www.kayanatin.com . Join us on August 26, Thursday, 6pm to 730pm at Unit 300 Torres Bldg., Katipunan Ave., QC for a Kaya Natin briefing of interested volunteers. To confirm your attendance, you can call Inday at (02) 4341458 or you can text your complete name and contact information to 0919-9575444.