“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
Group Pushing for Transparency in Local Government Rises in Samar
Rorie R. Fajardo
Friday, 17 December 2010
For good governance: Samarenos from different groups and social class come together under MATA-Samar to demand for more transparency from their local government.
CATBALOGAN CITY – They have different jobs, status in life, histories and most likely beliefs. But they all came together to express their common hope and goal: to help their province, said to be one of the richest in the country, to rise up and develop by demanding good leadership and management.
The Multisectoral Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA-Samar) was formally launched in this laid back city December 11 kicking off with an early morning motorcade followed by a forum that culminated in the signing of their Pledge of Commitment to Good Governance.
The promise: Six months after he promised to fight corruption in the land, President Aquino faces the bigger challenge to get more people on their side to put an end to corruption, together. Photo courtesy of www.dailybuzzword.com
Six months after the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino and on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day (December 9), Filipinos are beginning to ask what progress the government is making on its campaign promise to combat corruption and thus help eradicate poverty.
Six months on and the President’s personal ratings still remain very high – though they have dipped some since the heady days of May and June according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Measuring performance: Local governments in Lanao del Sur are urged to spend more money on basic education and be transparent about it. KEITH BACONGCO/AKP Images
MARAWI CITY -- It is 7 a.m. and a dozen heavily armed members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) man a checkpoint that marks the boundary between Balindong and Ganassi municipalities.
“We are always on red alert here especially after the ambush and killing of a mayor,” says the young Maranao police officer assigned at the police headquarters in Langcap, Marawi. “We need to elect new leaders, we need to have change,” he adds.
From Ampatuan to Mangudadatu: Changing the image of Maguindanao
A Two-Part Special Report on Transparency and Accountability in Maguindanao By Carolyn O. Arguillas in Buluan, Maguindanao
Monday, 18 October 2010
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu in his first State of the Province Address in Filipino: "We want to change this negative image of Maguindanao...There is nothing impossible if we help each other." KEITH BACONGCO/MindaNews
Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Gaguil Mangudadatu lives in a two-storey house here that relatives refer to as the “White House.”
The “White House” pales in comparison to the pink and peach mansions of the former Maguindanao governor, Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., and his children in Shariff Aguak but in a town like Buluan, where the Mangudadatus reign supreme, it stands out like the Ampatuan mansions -- a symbol of wealth and power amid poverty and powerlessness.
A Two-Part Special Report on Transparency and Accountability in Maguindanao By Carolyn O. Arguillas in Buluan, Maguindanao
Monday, 18 October 2010
Governor Mangudadatu looks at credentials of job seekers in Maguindanao, the country's third poorest province. KEITH BACONGCO/MindaNews
He was supposed to have delivered his State of the Province Address (SOPA) in early August. But the governor was in Manila -a complaint that continues to this day. Governor Esmael Mangudadatu goes to Manila to attend the court hearings on the November 23 massacre.
“Because I am the main complainant, I have to be in Manila,” he says.
(This story was originally published by MindaNews, one of the four partners of PPTRP.)
A new paradigm shift in detecting subtle forms of corruption is now a must, says social anthropologist and anti-corruption advocate Fr. Alberto Alejo. GG BUENO/MindaNews
DAVAO CITY– A “change in paradigm” and the ability to detect the subtle forms of corruption are needed to effectively combat a problem that has beset not just the government but also a number of private institutions, a priest who is actively involved in anti-corruption initiatives told participants to a forum on transparency October 11 at the Royal Mandaya Hotel here.
Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, a social anthropologist and leading figure in the anti-corruption project called Ehem, said that simply fighting corruption is not enough because the purpose is not just to imprison people [who are found guilty] but to establish a new kind of society.
Reducing Special Purpose Funds to Reduce Corruption
Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
Friday, 15 October 2010
So special: The pork barrel, considered as special purpose funds, are supposedly intended for development and welfare of Congressmen's constituents but are often used for political patronage. Results include ghost projects and unfinished roads like this one in Sultan Kudarat. JES AZNAR
Huge allocations in the government's annual budget for so-called special purpose funds (SPFs) have been questioned and criticized time and again, although not enough it seems to put an end to the practice or at the very least inject some much-needed transparency into their use.
Nonetheless, the Aquino administration, which has just celebrated its first 100 days, has claimed it will address the issue of SPFs as part of its key reforms in the budget process.
Will the People Have Their Day in Court with Corrupt Public Officials?
Atty. Rachelle Padre-Isip
Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Victory against corruption, of sort: Ousted president Joseph Estrada was found guilty of plunder in 2007. But it didn't take long before he was pardoned, allowed to run again for president and almost regained the highest seat from which he allegedly wasted peoples' money for booze and mansions. JES AZNAR
Philippine constitutional bodies responsible for prosecuting officials charged with corruption appear to be failing in their mission and fairly or not, are helping sow the seeds of public distrust and anger.
Currently battling against impeachment proceedings in the 15th Congress, the Ombudsman has long been criticized by many observers for its failure to clamp down on cases of corruption.
ABS-CBN in an article in 2009i decried the Ombudsman’s “dreadful conviction rate” in the first half of the year. According to the article, during the period from January to June 2009, figures obtained from the Sandiganbayan showed that the Office of the Ombudsman secured 22 convictions and one guilty plea against a total of 194 accused.
Too Corrupt to Change? The Battle to Reform the Bureau of Customs
Iris Cecilia Gonzales
Wednesday, 06 October 2010
No longer business as usual? Container-sized shipments like these awaiting customs clearance in Tondo are allegedly used to "sandwich" smuggled goods into the country. But Customs officials now say these days are gone. JES AZNAR
“The Bureau of Customs is like the wild, wild West.”
These are the words that Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima once used to describe the government’s second largest revenue agency.
For decades, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has been perceived as a netherworld of corruption with little or no respect for existing rules or laws. It has been seen by many as a world of syndicates which operate in a deeply entrenched system that knows only secret codes and unwritten rules.
Training Lawmakers on Transparency and Accountability
Friday, 01 October 2010
Learning curve: Congress and the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance train new legislators on transparency and accountability. Photo courtesy of World News
While government members and their staff are relatively well-catered for in terms of training programs for better transparency and accountability, lawmakers – who have the power of the purse – and the judiciary – which rule upon issues of governance are typically less-well served.
Given good governance is fully dependent on the smooth working and interaction of all three arms of the government, this is somewhat surprising.
Corruption and Wastage in Government Food Programs
Thursday, 30 September 2010
There's something in our soup: The Aquino administration canceled the Food for School program which was giving each child a kilo of rice every school day, saying it was laced with corruption and inefficiency. BERNADETTE REYES
Launched by the Department of Education in 2004, the Food for School Program (FSP) benefited some 2.8 million students and their families - including Grade 2 student Mary Rose Alacre of Kamuning Elementary School in Quezon City.
“My mother said I need to go to school so we will have rice to eat,” the schoolgirl told the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project.
No Fixers, No Corruption: Government Braces up to Improve Its Systems
Monday, 13 September 2010
Breeding corruption: The long and winding road just to start a business in the Philippines -- 15 steps and 52 days according to the World Bank -- has forced entrpreneurs to run to fixers for a breeze. BERNADETTE REYES
Can we win the battle against fixers in government?
Fixers are found wherever rules and regulations governing business or the public sector appear overly bureaucratic and complex while proper oversight and control is poor. And wherever fixers are found, corruption is seldom very far behind.
In the first Doing Business Report published by the World Bank in 2008, the Philippines ranked 133 out of 178 countries in terms of ease of doing business. In 2009, the country slipped to 141st place. This year the country dropped another three to 144 out of 183 economies.
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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The opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the
Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project or the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Center for Community Journalism and
Development, MindaNews, or the National Union of Journalists of the