Corruption in government has long been a problem for countless administrations.
While President Duterte made the drive on illegal drugs the hallmark of his administration from its start in June, 2016, he has also been steadily carrying out a quieter drive on government corruption, replacing officials linked to questionable transactions involving government funds.
Thus, we have had a number of changes in some agencies like the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Corrections, and most recently, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. In his State of the Nation Address last July, the President said he had already fired or caused the resignation of more than a hundred officials and other appointees in the government.
Last Monday, the President bore down on another long-standing problem in government, about which little has been done over the years.
So many things are pending in the various government offices,
Government service to the people has not been moving fast enough.
He thus issued an order for all government offices to take action on all matters pending before them. They must ensure that there is no work pending by December 10.
They should either approve or disapprove all pending transactions by this date, to ensure that the government can truly begin with a clean slate at the start of the new year 2020.
The national government is moving forward on so many big programs and projects. Aside from the drive on drugs and the drive on corruption, it is going full-blast on its infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build.”
It has drawn up a tax program to ensure it will have enough funds to maintain the nation’s economic development.
It is asserting its role in world affairs – in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and in its ties with the world’s leading nations, notably the United States, China, and Russia.
Against these wide-ranging and high-impact programs of the government, the simple order to all government agencies to decide and act on all pending transactions by December 10 may pale in comparison.
But it is bound to have a great impact on the lives of ordinary folk, paying their taxes, applying for licenses or business permit, or seeking treatment in a government hospital.
These are the common, ordinary, day-to-day, activities of our people that could get tangled up in red tape or even ignored by small government officials and employees lording it over their small individual spheres of influence.
No longer. They must now act on all pending matters by December 10. Or explain to the President why they couldn’t do it.