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Transparency, drug suppression touted as key achievements pre-SONA

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Rodrigo Duterte 2017 SONA
PHILSTAR

THE GOVERNMENT’s governance and human development clusters yesterday presented their achievements in the past year, ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The Participatory Governance Cabinet cluster, chaired by Department of Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge, Secretary OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año, reported that 136,129 drug personalities were arrested with over 1.2 million surrendered since the new government took over.

It was also able to enact 237 Office of the Ombudsman decisions on public servants, with 186 local officials withdrawn from police deputation. It also investigated 57 complaints against local officials.

“LGUs (local government units) have to have frequent and inclusive dialogues to immediately address and provide for the people’s needs,” said Mr. Año.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, meanwhile, said that the government has enhanced transparency “across all levels of government,” through continuing the Transparency Seal and the Full Disclosure Policy for national and local governments; reaching more communities for their concerns through Open Government Townhall Sessions; implementing the 8888 hot line; setting up the Citizen Participatory Audit,eased access for government transactions through the National Government Portal; implementing the Freedom of Information (FoI) Law; and complying with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, among others.

Mr. Diokno noted that all national government agencies have submitted their FoI manuals, while 84% of government-owned and -controlled corporations, 90% of state universities and colleges (SUCs), and 34% of local water districts have done the same.

He said the 8888 hot line has an average resolution rate of 93.2% of all the 180 legitimate transactions, “making it a very effective facility that allows citizens to give feedback to government that are acted upon on time and facilitates better public service delivery to our people.”

“Moving forward, we will strongly push for the passage of our priority legislative measures as well, such as the Freedom of Information Act, National ID System Act, and most especially the Budget Reform Bill. The bill aims to institutionalize necessary ingredients of a modern budget system, budget disclosure, and citizen participation in the budget process,” said Mr. Diokno.

“We put strong emphasis on ensuring that participatory governance is at the front and center of the Duterte administration change and reform agenda,” Mr. Diokno added.

This follows the first pre-SONA forum last week where the government’s economic development and infrastructure Cabinet clusters presented their achievements.

The government conducted pre-SONA forums to allow President Rodrigo R. Duterte flexibility to speak about “whatever he wants.”

The National Disaster Risk Resiliency cluster and the Security cluster and the Justice and Peace cluster will lead the third and final pre-SONA forum next week.

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster, headed by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Acting Secretary Virginia N. Orogo, meanwhile, said that 4 million of its 4.9 million total Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program were enrolled in schools.

“There were over a 1.3 million increase in enrollees in secondary education and enrolled more than 900,000 in 112 state universities and colleges,” she said.

Ms. Orogo said that the DSWD is also fast-tracking unconditional cash transfers for the bottom 50% of families affected by the tax reform law.

“A unified national ID system is currently being studied to facilitate the delivery of the cash transfers,” she said.

“We will work to improve access to credit and financial assistance, land, water, and other necessary assets, technology and machineries, and markets and services,” she said.

The government hopes to bring down poverty rate from 21.6% in 2015 to 14% by 2022. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan