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Bong Go recommends creation of an enhanced inter-agency task force to combat all forms of systemic corruption plaguing the bureaucracy

October 25, 2020 - Sunday 1:10 PM by MDM

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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the creation of an inter-agency task force that will employ a whole-of-government approach in the ongoing efforts of putting an end to deep-rooted, systemic corruption plaguing the whole bureaucracy. 

This came after reports of continuing prevalent corruption in numerous agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, PhilHealth and even in the agriculture sector through reported rice smuggling, among others. 

“Exasperated na po si Pangulong Duterte dahil sa korapsyon sa gobyerno. Para rin po itong pandemya na sumisira sa ating normal na pamumuhay. It is important to remove the ‘bad eggs’ para hindi na makasira pa sa serbisyo ng gobyerno o makahawa pa sa mga ibang kawani ng gobyerno na nais lang magsilbi sa kapwa Pilipino,” he explained.  

Go said the proposed task force may be modeled after the previous task force created to investigate PhilHealth. Its scope, however, should cover all government agencies and should be allowed to operate until President Duterte ends his term in 2022. 

“Bilang isang Senador, ito ang rekomendasyon ko sa Pangulo — na mag-designate siya ng task force, katulad ng ginawa natin hinggil sa katiwalian sa PhilHealth,” Go said adding that this is in support of the President’s campaign against corruption. 

Go narrated that he recently discussed the matter with the President who gave directives to intensify further the campaign against corruption and put an end to the continuing existence of anomalous practices plaguing the bureaucracy. 

“Nagkausap kami ni Pangulo at sabi niya na tuluyan ang mga dapat tuluyan sa kanyang one year and eight months na natitirang panunungkulan,” Go shared, adding that they will not hesitate to crack down on all forms of corruption saying, “from smuggling in BOC, pastillas scheme sa Immigration, anomalya sa PhilHealth, pangongotong sa DPWH, lahat na!”

“Gusto ng Pangulo na mag-iwan ng pagbabago sa bansa lalo na sa kampanya laban sa korapsyon — pagbabagong ramdam dapat ng taumbayan. Gusto niya maalala ng tao na nilabanan niya lahat ng corruption sa gobyerno,” he added. 

Go emphasized that President Duterte enjoys overwhelmingly high approval ratings because Filipinos see the sincerity and seriousness of his leadership to improve public service delivery by putting an end to corruption, criminality and illegal drugs. 

“Nangako ang Pangulo na lalabanan niya ang korapsyon until the last day of his term. Iyan ang campaign promise niya. Kaya siya binoto ng tao at patuloy siyang sinusuportahan at pinagkakatiwalaan ay dahil naniniwala tayong tinutupad niya ito,” he said.  

In his previous pronouncements, President Duterte pointed out the presence of corruption in the DPWH, prompting DPWH Secretary Mark Villar to come up with an internal special task force that will look into these allegations. 

Go lauded Villar’s decision, calling it a step towards the right direction, but recommended that a whole-of-government approach is necessary to solve this issue. 

“Matagal na itong corruption sa public works. It has existed for around half a century already. Bata palang ako ay laganap na ‘yan. Kaya kailangan natin magtulungan kung gusto nating maitigil ang kalakarang ito,” he explained. 

Go said that eradicating corruption must involve all concerned agencies, with the help of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as all branches of government. 

Similar to the Task Force on PhilHealth, Go recommends that this inter-agency body will be mandated to investigate all agencies plagued by systemic corruption, prosecute and file charges, audit funds, conduct lifestyle checks, recommend suspensions, and put in jail those proven guilty. 

“Lahatin na natin ang pag-imbestiga at dapat totohanin ang pagfile ng kaso. Tuluyan talaga. Siguraduhin ma-audit lahat ng pondo, bawat piso ay hindi dapat masayang. Kapag napatunayang nagkasala, ikulong. Wala dapat tayong palalampasin,” he said.  

Go said that there should be “no sacred cows” and every official must take responsibility in cleansing their ranks. He also recommended imposing preventive suspensions on suspected corrupt officials in order to preserve the integrity of the probe. 

“Wala tayong sasantuhin. Dapat tugisin mula sa pinakababa hanggang sa pinakamataas na rangko. Siguraduhin dapat na walang sabwatan na mangyayari para malaman ng taumbayan ang katotohanan,” he said, emphasizing the President’s warning that he will not tolerate “even a whiff of corruption".

Go also highlighted the need to conduct lifestyle checks in order to identify government workers who live beyond their means. 

“Itong lifestyle check, napakaimportante po nito dahil marami pong living beyond their means. Tingnan dapat magkano lang ‘yung sweldo tapos ‘yung buhay naman nila ay parang milyonaryo. Iyan ang dapat isiwalat at ipakita sa publiko kung bakit ganito ang style ng inyong pamumuhay pero eto lang ang inyong sweldo,” he added. 

By encouraging the public to take a stand and report anomalies happening, Go firmly believes public servants will adhere more to the values and standards set forth in Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.  

“Magtiwala kayo sa gobyerno. Alam ninyo, hindi tayo aasenso kung hindi kayo magre-report. Eh, paano natin huhulihin ‘yung mga corrupt kung hindi ninyo naman isusumbong sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte? Bukas po ang aming tanggapan para diyan,” he reassured.

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