Gov't launches anti-corruption drive as talks of public funds misuse linger

Published September 3, 2021, 12:56 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Greco Belgica led the launch of the agency’s flagship program dubbed “Project Kasangga: Aksyon Laban sa Korapsyon” even as the Duterte administration appeared to be on the defensive regarding issues of alleged corruption.

A COVID-stricken PACC Chairman Greco Belgica oversees the launch of “Project Kasangga: Aksyon Laban sa Korapsyon” on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 (Screenshot from Zoom meeting)

The project essentially featured the signing of an memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the creation of the Anti-Corruption Coordinating Councils (ACCC) by the signatories.

Representatives from 49 govenrment agencies, including various Cabinet-level officials, took part in the virtual signing of the document Friday morning, Sept. 3

So important was the event that Belgica still particilated in it despite contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last week. He was seen hooked up to an intravenous injection as he delivered his message during the hour-long event.

The question-and-answer portion of the program had to be cut short in order to give the PACC chief more time to rest, although he was still able to answer f questions from the media.

In a short pre-recorded message, President Duterte said he “joins the PACC as it spearheads the whole of government call to action with the ‘Kasangga Aksyon Laban sa Korapsyon.'”

“Our fight against corruption will allow us to serve the public with utmost excellence and integrity, as well as regain the trust and faith of our people in our institutions,” said Duterte, who will be designated at the ACCC chairman. Belgica will take on the role of ACCC vice chairman.

The project was launched with the backdrop of alleged overpriced procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Department of Health in 2020, when the dreaded COVID-19 first emerged in the country.

News headlines the past few weeks have also been dominated by the Commission on Audit’s (COA)”flagging” of alleged deficiencies in the use of public funds by several government agencies last year.

“The signing of Project Kasangga seals the President’s firm commitment to really fight corruption the best that he can by institutionalizing anti-corruption committees in all levels of government. We have not seen this in any government,” Belgica said.

He said the task of the ACCC is to prod all government offices and even barangays in the country to establish their respective anti-corruption coordinating committees. These committees will help formulate the national action plan against corruption, as well as identify and validate cases of corruption.

“This will start something for the next administration to improve on,” he noted.

Belgica also does not see any conflict with the anti-corruption campaign of other agencies, such as that of the Department of Justice (DOJ), saying the PACC flagship project will serve to complement them.

“What we’re doing today [is] preventive, educative, and mas may side na hindi po nila (DOJ) hawak. Mas mahahawakan po ng anti-corruption committees (the side that the DOJ won’t be handling will be handled by the anti-corruption committees),” he said.