Mindanao biz wants anti-corruption system in place

Vicente Lao, MinBC chair, told a press conference for the road show here Friday of the multi-sectoral National Anti-Corruption Program for Action (NACPA), that businessmen have simpler wishes: that procedures are implemented to prevent graft and corrupt practices to prosper.

"We don't like to see a lot of people being convicted. Instead, we would like to see systems institutionalized to prevent corruption," he told the press conference presided by TanodBayan Maria Merceditas Gutierrez.

Lao was responding to a query on how the NACPA could help cut the number of graft cases.

Lao proposed a legislation that would require all government agencies to put up clear and easy flow chart for transactions involving the public.

He said they were keen on requiring local government units to post the illustrated flow charts in offices “so even the ordinary people could check irregularities”.

The flow chart should show standards in the conduct of transactions between the private sector and the government agencies, according to Lao, including, for instance, the length of time to process a specific transaction.

"If the flow chart says it will be done in 15 days and the outcome showed it was not done in 20 days, then that should show the problem," he lamented.

Lao said government should focus on changing the system rather than mount a crackdown which he said would not prevent continued commission of graft.

The suggestion was made amid a national controversy on the alleged distribution of cash gifts to legislators and provincial governors at a recent meeting in Malacan͂ang, widely suspected as a bid to get President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo out of another impeachment bid.

Some politicians already admitted receiving half a million pesos each but denied accepting it as bribe.

Gutierrez has vowed an independent probe, which the Ombudsman started after news organizations revealed an alleged payoff. But she declined to give details of the graft body's "fact-finding" and did not give a time frame to wrap up its investigation.

She described the probe as "covering everybody involved but not focused on anyone".

The Office of the Ombudsman, meanwhile, dubbed the multi-sectoral NACPA as a "more focused" anti-corruption strategy that is "holistic" "proactive" and "more intensified."

Launched in March 2007, the NACPA is “a convergence of the anti-corruption programs and projects from the executive, legislative and judiciary bodies of government; constitutional bodies, local governments, business sector, civil society and the academe”.

One of the objectives of the program is to install an anti-corruption performance measurement system and a social marketing of success stories “for greater public support and investor confidence”.

The MinBC has its own project on Transparency and Governance (TAG) at the local government level.