Corruption News

Valderrama: Combating corruption in government offices


DO YOU know someone who accepts kickbacks or bribes in exchange for favor? Or a teacher who accepts money in exchange for grades? Or an official who takes money to favor hiring an applicant? Or someone involved in under-the-table transactions?

Situations like these can happen anytime or these could have already been practiced by dishonest and greedy individuals. But in the Department of Education (DepEd), situations like these may just come to a halt.

An Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC) in DepEd was recently created as it recognizes that graft and corruption are major obstacles to the realization of the right of all Filipinos and children to access quality basic education in a learning environment that promotes their safety and well-being.

To curb any form of graft and corruption, the ACC will be at the forefront of DepEd. It will prevent graft and corruption in DepEd through policies and advocacy campaigns. It will ensure that erring officials and employees are held accountable.

The committee in DepEd Central Office will be chaired by Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.

The vice chair is Atty. Alberto T. Escobarte, the previous regional director of DepEd Davao Region and now the Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs.

For regional offices such as Davao Region, Regional Director (RD) Allan G. Farnazo will chair the committee with Assistant RD Maria Ines C. Asuncion as vice chair. Atty. Ben Masungcad, DepEd’s regional attorney, will take a major role. The division offices will form their ACC too.

With an intensified anti-corruption campaign and a committee focused on coordinating and monitoring action on alleged corrupt activities, corruption will be prevented while appropriate and timely action will be taken on corruption-related complaints.

It is true that significant efforts have been made to combat corruption in the country, especially that the Philippines ranked 117th in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index. And corruption really happens anywhere – in government agencies, private organizations, and even in personal transactions.

The most common acts of graft and corruption are bribery, diversion or malversation of public funds, officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences, and nepotistic appointments in the civil service.

Bribery dates back to the time before Christ (BC) and was even mentioned in Exodus 23:8, “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.”

Bribery, in simplest terms, occurs when a person offers something of value to another person in order to receive something in exchange. It has always been there; it only differs in style and strategy.

Malversation of public funds is the crime where an accountable officer had received the public funds but failed to account for the said funds upon demand without offering a justifiable explanation for the shortage.

Nepotism, on the other hand, favors a few individuals, thus fairness in the hiring and promotion process in government is compromised. It excludes possible more qualified individuals from being considered for employment.

These are acts common to public offices and laws have been established to make people accountable for these crimes.

One way to combat corruption is to report corruption. We expose corrupt activities and ensure that public sector employees act in the public interest. We keep the public sector honest, transparent, and accountable.

Another way to combat corruption is to remind every public servant to discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, and competence. Public servants shall uphold public interest over personal interest.

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