CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/17 June) – Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo warned local government units nationwide that those who fail to make full public disclosure of their financial records this year may face administrative and criminal charges.
Robredo made this warning in a forum here today with local government officials in Northern Mindanao to promote transparency in governance.
He enjoined local government officials to comply with the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) campaign that would certify LGUs which have satisfied the public disclosure of financial transactions with a Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH).
The SGH, he explained, is a proof that based on Commission on Audit annual reports, there are no irregularities pertaining to graft and corruption in the LGU’s annual financial reports and that the LGU has complied with the public disclosure provision of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The GAA requires LGUs to make available to the public all their financial transactions either through their website or posting in public places or printed in newspaper publication.
Meanwhile, DILG Region 10 Director Loreto Bhagwani said that so far, LGUs in the region have fared well in complying with the disclosure requirements as 64 percent of the 98 LGUs in Northern Mindanao already complying with the requirement. He said that he is confident the region will have 100-percent compliance at the end of the year.
Northern Mindanao is composed of the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Lanao del Norte. It has nine cities and 84 municipalities.
Robredo said that the transparency campaign is a core program of the Aquino administration’s “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” campaign slogan.
“Transparency is the first step in our anti-corruption drive. The people should know first the transactions being made by the government,” Robredo told MindaNews.
He added that he hopes that with the strong support of the LGUs to the SGH campaign, the anti-corruption campaign will go a notch higher.
“We are thinking of looking further into what happens behind the financial transactions of government, because we know that some irregularities may happen in that layer,” Robredo said.
Government financial institutions (GFI) have also been enjoined to support the SGH campaign by making it a requirement before they give loans to LGUs.
The Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, he said, are studying the option of making the SGH as one of the requirement before LGUs can avail of loans. It is a common practice for LGUs to make loans from GFI by making the future 20 percent development fund as collateral. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)