“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
Critics Divided On Administration's Fiscal Policies One Year On
By Iris Cecilia Gonzales
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Fragile but improving: Critics say the government needs to move faster so the economy will move forward and the people, especially the poor, would feel that things are getting better. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
When Secretary Cesar Purisima took over the helm of the Department of Finance (DOF) in July last year, he conceded right away that it would not be an easy task.
It was like stepping on a treadmill, he said during his first days in office.
Now, one year on, the country’s fiscal health remains fragile –but improving.
Probing the pork: The administration and most legislators say that the pork barrel is needed to support sectors which the national government oftenly overlooked, but critics say it has become more like the politicians' personal money. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
In his younger days as a student in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, Al-Ghosaibi Jutli saw the huge potential seaweed farming held for local communities if only it was properly organized and exploited. Seaweed is used to produce everything from bread, beer, soap and toothpaste through to crucial fertilizers, vitamins and medicine.
Now working as a counselor in a Sharia court in Zamboanga del Norte, Jutli laments that the Sulu seaweed industry will remain an untapped dream and living conditions back home will never improve as a result.
He says the one-time big-time humanitarian and livelihood missions of civic organizations there are greatly appreciated and helpful, but admits their effects are not expected to last in the long run.
A look at leadership: Dr. Jose Rizal's century-old question "Are we like this because we simply have not been blessed with an enlightened leadership?" remains in the hearts of Filipinos today as they pin hopes on newly elected leaders like President Benigno Aquino III and his young administration. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
“Tayo bang mga Filipino ay sadyang nilikha ng Panginoon na mangmang, dukha at api? O kaya lang tayo ganito ay dahil hindi pa lamang tayo nabibiyayaan ng isang mabuting pamumuno? (Are we Filipinos created by God as ignorant, wretched and oppressed? Or are we like this because we simply have not been blessed with an enlightened leadership?)”
So our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal once asked his brother Paciano.
Transparency and Accountability a Victim in Palawan as Media Cowed into Silence
By Iris Cecilia Gonzales
Friday, 17 June 2011
Silenced: Letty Batul points to a spot where her brother, crusading Palawan journalist Dong Batul, was shot and killed in May 2006. JES AZNAR (www.jesaznar.com)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- The targeting of investigative reporters in Palawan has effectively silenced campaigning journalism in the region and is a danger for democracy according the sister of slain media activist Fernando “Dong” Batul.
As a result of the killings, Letty Batul says, campaigning journalists have fled the province.
“Many of them have gone already,” she told the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) in an interview conducted shortly before the Department of Justice this week dropped the case against former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and five others who were the prime suspects in the January killing of Gerry Ortega citing lack of evidence.
‘Friendly Citizens’ Accountability Watchdog Group’ Launches in Bohol
By Ric V. Obedencio
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Bohol rising: Several media practitioners, NGO workers, community leaders and church workers grouped themselves into the Bohol Transparency Network for Transformation (Bohol TNT) and vowed to be the province's 'friendly government watchdog.' RIC V. OBEDENCIO
TAGBILARAN CITY -- A fourth citizen-led initiative to help build and ensure public accountability was launched this week with the unveiling of a new group in Western Visayas called Bohol Transparency Network for Transformation (Bohol TNT).
The launch here on June 15 brought together local media, civil society, church groups, peoples’ organizations and business leaders from across the province – as well as senior local members of the Philippine National Police and officials from the regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Public declarations of support from representatives of all sectors present included a goodwill message from Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto delivered by Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II.
Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan: A Model of Local Transparency and Community Participation that Gives Farmers More Control over their Future
By Rick R. Flores
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Community participation: Old and young women farmers learn about diversified farming in a training to help them manage and control their own farms and increase incomes. RICK R. FLORES
NEW CORELLA, Davao del Norte -- This is the Banana Republic, literally, with thousands of acres planted with bananas destined for export. Just a 30-minute drive from Tagum City, this third class municipality strives to provide better farm to market-style facilities such as roads and bridges for its 44, 953 residents -- 90 per cent of whom are farmers or their dependents.
New Corella’s smallest barangay, New Sambog, is typical of the municipality’s 20 other barangays and is a recipient of the government’s Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan --the country’s flagship poverty alleviation project also known as the Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).
Bongao’s Administrative and Fiscal Reforms: A Continuing Quest for Effective Local Governance in Tawi-Tawi
Analysis by Ma. Vema Gaticales-Ladjahasan and Manuel G. Pampora
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
For the people: The rural health unit of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi receives enough funding and personnel support from the local government to enable it to effectively respond to the people's medical needs. MA. VEMA GATICALES-LADJAHASAN
Barely a decade ago, Bongao was an underdeveloped municipality despite it being the political and economic capital of Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost province of the Philippines.
Back then, life was difficult and miserable. Economic and social development was slow; prices of basic goods and commodities high -- and the government was desperate for funds to remedy social and environmental problems. Infrastructure too was very poor and private business was hesitant to invest for precisely these reasons.
LGU Officials in North Cotabato Authorized for Business Trip to Manila Go on Thai Holiday Instead
By Abner Francisco
Friday, 13 May 2011
Thailand tripping: Local government officials and staff from Magpet, North Cotabato outside a Bangkok shopping mall led by (second from right) Municipal Budget Officer Erly Baudi and (right), General Services Officer Danny Uy. The group went on a four-day visit with their spouses to Thailand when they should have been in Manila on official business. From the Facebook account of Municipal Accountant Donald Homez.
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Nineteen employees of one of the poorest towns in the province of North Cotabato are being investigated for allegedly spending public funds and wasting official time on a tourist trip to Thailand.
Members of the local legislative council in the municipality of Magpet have threatened to file criminal and administrative cases against the local government employees who appear to have gone on a four-day trip to Thailand from March 9 to March 12, 2011.
The trip came to light after it was found out that on the same dates, at least some of the employees who are members of the municipality’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), were supposed to be on official government business in Metro Manila.
Tackling Corruption in the Philippines – An Outsider’s Expert View
By the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
What could be done: Anti-corruption expert Tony Kwok says everybody has a role in fighting corruption and that it all starts with political will at the top. RORIE FAJARDO
Corruption has absolutely nothing to do with culture and everything to do with political and personal will.
Those who point to traditions and history are simply making the poorest of excuses and are in basic denial by simply refusing to accept personal and collective responsibility for the state they are in.
So says one of the world’s leading anti-corruption experts -- Tony Kwok, who spoke at a public forum on Friday at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. As proof, the former Deputy Head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong pointed to the overarching Chinese culture and Confucian traditions in his home town which transformed itself from being one of the most corrupt societies to one of the cleanest.
The Right To Avoid Self-Incrimination: When Is It Fair For Corruption Suspects to Cite It and When Are They Hiding Behind It?
By Macky Macaspac
Wednesday, 04 May 2011
Abusing the right: Former AFP comptroller Carlos Garcia (right), accused of amassing millions of wealth from people's money, has repeatedly invoked his Constitutional right against self-incrimination in recent Senate investigation hearings, which also called on retired generals including former AFP Chief of Staff Roy Cimatu (left). RORIE FAJARDO
The nation has witnessed many controversies over public funds purportedly amassed by government officials over the past few years. Congressional and Senate investigations are held, Blue Ribbon Committee Hearings convened and much publicity is generated --and temporary media feeding frenzy ensured.
Yet at the end of the day, such investigations are non-judicial in nature and resolve little. Impeachment cases aside where Congress sits as a court, most investigations and hearings can only aid or inform possible future legislation. While they may provide a venue for a public venting of frustration, they ultimately serve only to leave the general public wondering what the ultimate purpose and lasting effect was.
Cash cow: PAGCOR under then chair Efraim Genuino, as previous state audit reports indicated, seemed to have alloted more funds for its officials' meals, golf club memberships and other perks than for government social development and welfare programs. Its new leaders vow for a more accountable, transparent PAGCOR. Photo courtesy of http://media.photobucket.com
Money was not a problem during the past administration for the only government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) to oversee legalized gambling in the country – nor it seems was accountability: There just wasn’t any.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) operates 13 casinos and several VIP slot clubs in major cities around the country. It also exercises regulatory powers on more than 180 bingo parlors and e-games cafes nationwide.
It is among the largest contributors of revenue after the Tax Authority. PAGCOR was created in 1977 through Presidential Decree 1067-A.
Government Anti-Graft Agencies Playing Catch-Up with Corrupt Officials
By Iris Cecilia Gonzales
Monday, 18 April 2011
Seeing corruption: The modus operandi of corrupt officials, says executive director Romeo Tomas Jr. of the Revenue Integrity Protection Service, has become more sophisticated and cunning. JES AZNAR
The allegations that surfaced during the Congressional inquiries into corruption at senior levels of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were stark and telling -- and many. The revelations that included serial house-buying overseas, globe-trotting wives and missing UN peacekeeping funds left many observers wondering and asking: How were all these allowed to happen? Where were the stringent checks and controls that ensured public money was only ever used for the public good?
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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