“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
More Power – Joining Forces for Greater Public Transparency
By Alan Davis
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Legislative War Declared On Abusive GOCCs – Will It Succeed?
By Iris Cecilia Gonzales
Monday, 29 August 2011
Are the happy days gone? Former SSS president and CEO Romulo Neri was allegedly among several GOCC officials who enjoyed a salary and bonuses worth millions of pesos, while their agencies plunge into deeper debt and non-performance. The landmark GOCC Governance Act promises to change the wind. Sourced from http://www.flickr.com
During last September’s Senate hearings, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) officials revealed that they received 25-month bonuses apart from their salaries. One official earned PhP 4 million (USD 95,238) in 2009 alone.
The bonuses include an anniversary bonus, mid-year financial assistance, yearend financial assistance, productivity bonus, performance bonus, educational assistance, rate-rebasing bonus, privatization bonus, efficiency incentive, performance enhancement bonus, corporate Christmas package, traditional Christmas package, calamity financial assistance, scholarship allowance, and family week allowance, among others.
This is in clear violation of a memorandum order issued by the previous administration, which limits the salaries of government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) executives to twice that of Cabinet secretaries.
MagDegamo Ta: Legitimate Program or Political Profiteering?
By Edmund Sestoso
Monday, 29 August 2011
For real or for politicking? "MagDegamo Ta," a program of the Negros Oriental provincial government, has ultimate semblance to the name of current Gov. Roel Degamo (in the middle, in yellow shirt) but his aides are denying it is just a means to promote his political career. EDMUND SESTOSO
Is it right or ethical for public funds to be channeled into a program that seems to be named after the new governor of Negros Oriental – or is this a very blatant example of political patronage designed to help him stay in power?
Degamo’s rise to Capitol
Roel Ragay Degamo, a native of Siaton town, became governor of Negros Oriental not by election but through legal succession following the deaths of the two top officials elected in the May 2010 national and local elections.
In that same election, Degamo was re-elected as one of the three members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) representing the 3rd District of the province.
Can the Aquino Government Fully Cap Abusive Spending by Government Officials?
By Vincent Michael Borneo
Friday, 26 August 2011
'Extraordinary' perks: The Angeles City Water District's former manager topped last year with the biggest discretionary and extraordinary and miscellanous expenses, reaching to Ph 15 million. Courtesy of the Angeles City Water District website
Given the pursuit of exorbitant discretionary funds and perks granted by officials to themselves in the different government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) such as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) – it is clear the Aquino government has been taking bold steps to track down and punish those who abused the system during the previous administration.
But what about the future? Will there be future exposes and Commission on Audit (COA) reports that will highlight abusive spending on perks by officials in 2011, or 2012? What exactly is the system that allows for discretionary funds and public perks?
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) delves into some of the laws, rules and regulations in an effort to understand past and current practices. It is sometimes said that what is allowable is not always right – and what is right is not always allowed.
Enhancing Capacity for Monitoring and Reporting Transparency at the Local Level: PPTRP’s Do-It-Yourself Guide for Journalists, Advocates and Concerned Citizens
By Rowena Paraan
Friday, 26 August 2011
Being equipped: PPTRP has trained journalists, advocates and ordinary citizens to better understand, monitor and report on transparency issues.
In Zamboanga Del Norte, the provincial council approved a PhP 25 million (USD 595,238) supplemental budget for intelligence funds with barely a month left in the fiscal year. In Iligan City, a councilor barged into the announcer’s booth of a local radio station and attacked the news anchor who had questioned the PhP 14 million (USD 333,333) budget allegedly spent for snacks during committee hearings. The broadcaster had said he never saw any snacks served at the hearings.
In Bicol, a quarry that has been in operation for several years has failed to pay any fees over to the barangay in which it sits. In Misamis Occidental, a fourth class municipality has pegged its salary scale to that of a second class municipality and nobody has complained since employees are all reportedly benefiting. Western Samar meanwhile, has been subsisting on a reenacted budget since 2008 which begs the question what has happened to all the savings made from one-off projects which were continually refunded.
The New Ombudsman’s Office: Real Change and Real Independence?
By Bernadette Reyes
Thursday, 25 August 2011
New leader, new hope: The public is watching and waiting on how newly appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales would bring back the people's faith in the Constitutional body. Courtesy of the Supreme Court
During his second State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Aquino III announced that retired Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales was to be the new Ombudsman of the Philippines.
The President placed high expectations on her new leadership after former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez failed to tackle several high-profile cases. "Inaasahan ko nga po na sa taong ito masasampahan na ng kaso ang lahat ng nagkuntsabahan sa katiwalian at naging sanhi ng sitwasyong ating inabutan (I expect this year that cases would be filed against those who conspired to commit corruption and which caused the situation left to us),” President Aquino said in his speech.
The President added that under the new leadership, erring public officials would be prosecuted. "Kapag tayo ang nagsampa, matibay ang ebidensya, malinaw ang testimonya at siguradong walang lusot ang salarin (If we file cases, evidence is strong, testimonies are clear and culprits surely have no way out).”
Presidential Decree 1177: A Legacy of Secrecy and Manipulation of the National Budget that Needs Repeal
Analysis by Rachelle Padre-Isip
Monday, 15 August 2011
Who's got the power? The Congress, says the Constitution, is supposed to have it when it comes to the budget, but Presidential Decree 1177 continues to give the President excessive discretion over lump sum funds and savings and the authority when to suspend its release, as reportedly shown in the previous administration. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
While the 1987 Philippine Constitution gives Congress the power of appropriations, provisions in Presidential Decree No. 1177 give the President discretion over certain appropriations such as lump sum appropriations, the authority to suspend the release of funds, and use of savings in appropriations to cover deficits. These are powers sourced from this decree issued during the dictatorial rule of President Marcos and not sanctioned by the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
It is a decree that should ideally be rescinded and struck down by this administration in the interests of public transparency and accountability since it gives any president massive powers to switch around and manipulate funds regardless of any decisions or restrictions initially put on approved monies by the legislature.
Time for change: The Commission on Audit would undergo the much needed reforms to live up to its role in anti-corruption and public accountability, says its current chair Gracia Pulido-Tan. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
By any measure or program that aims to prevent or eliminate corruption, the role of audit is crucial.
The role of the Commission on Audit (COA) is thus very important if President Benigno Aquino III is to deliver on his program of good governance.
Aquino has appointed Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan as COA chairperson, a no non-sense accountant who previously had stints in government as Finance Undersecretary.
In an interview with the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP), Tan said she accepted the position with the aim of ensuring that COA would be what it is meant to be– to ensure that public funds would have full and proper accounting.
Philippine soldiers take part in a training under the country's visiting forces agreement with the US in this file photo taken in Tarlac. The Commission of Audit pointed out in its annual audit report that the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement prevented it to conduct audit for fiscal year 2010. Photo courtesy of PCVFA
August heralds the systematic releases of the Commission on Audit (COA) annual audit reports (AAR) of all government agencies and entities and its report on salaries and allowances (ROSA) of all government officials in national government agencies, water districts, and government-owned and/or -controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Among findings from early 2010 audit reports just released is the revelation that a presidential commission prevented the audit agency from conducting an audit for fiscal year 2010.
It appears the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (PCVFA) – an agency sitting within the Office of the President -- prevented the COA from doing an audit.
For the sake of truth: With no law protecting them, whistleblowers like NBN ZTE scam witness Jun Lozada are forced to hold on to their own faith and courage. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
ZTE-NBN deal whistleblower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada spoke out and told all he knew. As a result, while corruption persists, his life has changed forever.
“I still live in fear because those I uncovered are still in power and they are still billionaires –whereas I cannot live a normal live anymore,” Lozada tells the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP).
Lozada, former Chief Executive Officer of the government-run Philippine Forest Corporation and then consultant of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) alleged back in 2008 that then Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Benjamin Abalos and former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo pocketed kickbacks in the USD 329 million construction contract awarded to Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for the proposed National Broadband Network.
Lozada did not receive any protection from the government. Instead the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines gave him the sanctuary he sought.
COA: More Millionaire Government Officials Discovered, More Digging Still to Do
By Vincent Michael Borneo
Tuesday, 02 August 2011
By the millions: COA in its latest report said former PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino raked in PhP 287 million in the first half of 2010 alone for salaries, bonuses and intelligence funds. Courtesy of Philippine Star
The most famous auditor of the country has a new bombshell with the just released “2010 Report on Salaries and Allowances (ROSA) Received by Principal Officers and Members of Governing Boards of Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and their Subsidiaries and Secretaries, Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries and Other Officials of Equivalent Rank of National Government Agencies (NGAs).”
Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Heidi Mendoza said in the introduction to the 900-page report that the objective is “to promote transparency in government by monitoring the annual salaries and allowances received by government officials holding high and/or multiple positions as well as determine the total amount of emoluments and benefits received by them from different state agencies/instrumentalities with which they are affiliated.”
The Sangguniang Kabataan in Limbo: What Lies Ahead for the Nation’s Youth?
By Macky Macaspac
Friday, 29 July 2011
Breeds corruption? Some lawmakers want the Sangguniang Kabataan abolished because it reportedly became a mere training ground for future corrupt officials and traditional politics, but some say the council still somehow gives voice to the youth and must only be reformed. Courtesy of SK Facebook page
The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK, Youth Council) was created almost 20 years ago to replace the defunct Kabataang Barangay during the Marcos era. The Local Government Code of 1991 or Republic Act 7160 gave way to the formation of Katipunan ng Kabataan (KK) chapter – the general assembly of youth in each barangay nationwide. The law states that any youth aged between 15 and 17 can vote or be voted on to govern the SK. The SK is the legislative body of youths, and its chair sits as a regular member in the Barangay Council as representative of local youth.
Under its constitution and by-laws, the main function of the SK is to “promulgate resolutions necessary to carry out the objectives of the youth in the barangay, initiate programs designed to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, spiritual a physical development of the members, conduct fund-raising activities, consult and coordinate with all youth organizations in the barangay for policy formulation and program implementation, and coordinate with the appropriate agency for the implementation of youth development projects and programs at the national level.”
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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