Rationalizing the gov’t structure

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EFFICIENT, effective and economical governance is always a work-in-progress. Public officials should constantly assess the performance of the departments and agencies they lead to ensure that these are working at optimum levels.

We’re glad to know, therefore, that Congress is constantly in the process of reviewing whether different offices perform their mandates or not at all.

This week, the House of Representatives passed a bill strengthening the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) while abolishing the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel. It also approved House Bill No. 7436 abolishing the Road Board.

House Bill 7376 seeks to strengthen the OSG to enable it to fulfill its role of upholding the best interest of the government. The measure seeks to eliminate the overlapping of functions, to consolidate the legal services in the government into one office and effectively address the expanding needs of government-owned and controlled corporations to improve fiscal management and ensure good corporate governance.

The bill also intends to enhance government efforts for the full and effective recovery of ill-gotten wealth and properties, including the efficient investigation and prosecution of cases.

But there were dissenting voices as well. One congressman said HB Bill 7376 would only “absolve the Marcoses against their crimes to the Filipino people”, while another said that with the abolition of the PCGG, “government will be made toothless in its hunt for ill-gotten wealth.”

In the case of the Road Board, the House decided to abolish it and transfer its functions to the DPWH and the DOTr.

The Road Board oversees the funds from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge collections, which are supposed to be used exclusively for road maintenance. among others. However, the Commission on Audit unearthed signs of alleged illegal utilization of the Road Fund, estimated to have amounted to a total of P90.72 billion from 2001 to December 2012.

“Obviously, the Road Board is just another layer of bureaucracy, which became another avenue for graft and corruption,” according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the principal author of the bill. We totally agree with him.

p: wjg

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