Since his and President Rodrigo Duterte’s top advocacy is to fight the stubborn problem of corruption, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” go committed yesterday that his stint in government from hereon will be devoted to the battle against irregularities.
“The President is already exasperated with reports of corruption in government, and so am I. We want Filipinos to feel there is change in the system. And we will definitely fight corruption until the last day of the President’s term and my term, too,” Go said in his weekly “GOing Forward” commentary.
As ensuring the prudent use of public funds is not the function of government alone, Go called on Filipinos to share in the responsibility of ensuring integrity in government.
“I am, therefore, urging each Filipino to report any anomaly they see in the government. In eliminating corruption in the country, it must involve the entire nation. Your reports as citizens will help authorities conduct accurate fact-finding inquiries, lifestyle checks and other investigative procedures,” Go urged.
“I now reiterate my appeal to our agencies and my fellow public servants to shape up now, because our people deserve nothing less but the best kind of service from a government that puts the welfare and interests of every Filipino first before their own,” the legislator appealed.
A more pernicious pandemic
He likened corruption to the global pandemic, which Go said is a plague that continues to ruin the lives of many and that the “bad eggs” in government should be expelled to stop causing damage and thus restore the integrity of public service.
When it comes to corruption, Go said a zero-tolerance policy is needed.
“My sentiments come from reports of prevalent corruption in government agencies such as the extortion in the Department of Public Works and Highways, the ‘pastillas’ scheme in the Bureau of Immigration, the smuggling in the Bureau of Customs, the embezzling of funds in PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.) and the rice smuggling in the agriculture sector, among others,” he noted.
Go recounted a discussion with the President when they talked about intensifying the campaign against corruption as it is destroying the legacy that both of them wanted to leave to Filipinos.
“We want to finally end the reign of corruption in his last twenty months as President. We will not hesitate to do grave sanctions and we will not mince our actions,” according to the legislator.
More determined effort set
Go explained that from the discussion with Mr. Duterte that the creation of a bigger and expanded task force that will investigate corrupt practices in all government agencies cropped up.
The proposed body will conduct a thorough probe on the alleged anomalies, a lifestyle check on personnel and a detailed audit of agencies’ budgets. Those involved must be prosecuted and put to jail once found guilty of corrupt practices. (Related story on page 3)
“My recommendation is also a continuation of a process that we began more than four years ago when President Duterte assumed office. I remember during my time as the Special Assistant to the President, we created the Truth and Justice Coalition. Together with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and other partners in the civil society, we formed this alliance to provide an avenue for ordinary citizens to report instances of anomalies in government transactions,” he recalled.
As proof of President Duterte’s determination to clean up the government, Go cited his move to terminate several high-ranking officials due to reports of corruption while also initiating the investigation of many public officials, “from the lowest rungs of the bureaucracy to the highest echelons of the government.”
I now reiterate my appeal to our agencies and my fellow public servants to shape up now, because our people deserve nothing less but the best kind of service from a government that puts the welfare and interests of every Filipino first before their own.
“In our zero-tolerance policy against corruption, there are no sacred cows as we demand full accountability from our public servants,” he added.
Corruption has many faces
Corruption inflicts several adverse impacts on government service since aside from the siphoning of public money, it also breeds incompetence.
“Government officials are servants of the people, compensated through their salaries. Receiving something from public funds without actually working for it or legally entitled to it is also a form of corruption,” according to Go.
He noted that public funds must not be wasted on officials who tolerate such unscrupulous activities in their agencies. “In this government, there should be no immunity when it comes to such ills of society,” he stressed.
Such commitment against corruption is behind the President’s popularity and the continued trust of the people on him. “Our campaign has always been against corruption and criminality aside from the war on illegal drugs. It was his promise, and he wants to fulfill it for the people. And the people continue to trust him because of his sincerity and seriousness in pursuing this campaign of eliminating the ills of society and providing a better life for all Filipinos,” Go indicated.
He said amid the continuing pandemic, corruption has become an even more important issue since at a time when people are undergoing unprecedented hardships, every single peso counts.
“Furthermore, the people must also know where their money is going and how it is being used. They entrusted this money to us so it can benefit all and not just a few. That is why every peso should be accounted for up to the last centavo and used solely for public service,” the senator said.