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PIA Press Release

Commentary: DPWH image improving

by Jina Shirley G. Dacmay

LAGAWE, Ifugao (9 October) -- Initiatives to eliminate corruption at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are now gaining grounds as the agency is moving down in its standing in the list of most corrupt agencies in the country.

One of the innovations introduced in the agency is the "Mag OKS" or magandang opisina, magandang kalsada at magandang sistema program which is now seeping in even to the lowest rank of employees within the department to erase the negative perception about the office.

Congressman Solomon Chungalao in a recent regional meeting of the DPWH expressed his concern over corruption at the DPWH as it stood second most corrupt agency in a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey in 2002 and one of the ten most corrupt agencies in 2004.

"My concern here is over the perception of people, whether true or not, with regards to corruption in the department making the department in the center of scrutiny", he stated.

He acknowledged that DPWH is the playing ground of Congressmen as the implementers of infrastructure projects. Chungalao, however, stressed that at present there are no longer questions in the implementation of projects in the province. In fact, he said, "we are regaining respectability and honor."

In a handout obtained at the Department of Education Ifugao Division on the cost of corruption reports and snapshots in public works projects, 64% of the kickbacks go to project implementation; 15% to the legislator; 10% provincial, city, or municipal engineer; mayor 7%; and barangay captain 3% (Parreno 1998).

Admitting that there are no saints in government and among politicians, he advised people in government that the best guiding light in the performance of functions is social responsibility and make sure that there is something implemented, he said.

DPWH-CAR Regional Director Mariano Alquiza agreed that the image of their office was tarnished, thus the introduction of some innovations within the department.

Alquiza encouraged his men to make their work transparent and to accomplish a quality project for people to see that corruption is just a mere perception. He also encouraged his men to work competitively with other employees in the public service.

Employees were elated with the recent Transparency International (TI) survey result where the department dived to ranked no. 11 most corrupt agency in 2004 from second most corrupt.

"This goes to show that we are performing our responsibilities well" Alquiza quipped. (PIA-Ifugao) [top]

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