NEDA chief clarifies NEDA evaluation process
by T. Villavert
Manila (21 February) -- Secretary Augusto B. Santos of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) assured the public that NEDA through the years has always strived to maintain its independence as a planning, programming and monitoring agency and to insulate itself from outside influences.
Secretary Santos issued the statement to clarify certain media articles which recently alleged that the project evaluation process undertaken by the NEDA has been "compromised" or "prostituted".
In a statement, Santos, stressed that "NEDA to the best of its ability and resources evaluates projects as objectively and accurately as possible".
He further said that NEDA, through its Investment Coordination Committee Secretariat, evaluates the technical, financial, economic and social feasibility of projects and provides this to NEDA Board, chaired by the President and whose membership includes Cabinet members. It is the NEDA Board that approves the projects and makes policy decisions. NEDA culls from the skills and expertise it has honed through many years of evaluating thousands of projects. The first and foremost consideration in project evaluation is that its benefits will accrue to the economy.
Meanwhile, President Arroyo in her opening statement during the Procurement Transparency Group-NEDA-Cabinet Group meeting stressed that the government has put anti-corruption campaign at the fore of its agenda.
"Kailangan sa pagsulong ng ekonomiya, paglaki ng investment at pagdami ng trabaho ay labanan ang katyiwalian. Ito ang dahilan kaya naglaan tayo ng mga P3 billion laban sa katiwalian sa nagdaang mga taon, pinakamalaking halaga na ginugol kontra sa korupsiyon," President Arroyo said.
During the same meeting the President also said that she has created the Procurement Transparency Group chaired by Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. to "monitor and evaluate contracting of government projects".
"Umaasa tayo na magiging masigasig at patas ang pagsisiyasat ng Ombudsman, walang pagkiling, walang politika, walang pagda-drama. Katotohanan lamang, alinsunod sa patakaran ng batas, base sa matibay na ebidensiya, at may paggalang sa karapatan kapwa ng akusado at nag-aakusa. Ito ang sistema ngdemokrasya upang maresolba angmga usapin at paratang nang mapayapa, makatotoo, at masusing sinusuri at hinuhusgahan ang mga usaping bayan," President Arroyo said. (PIA) [top]