Go proposes expanded task force vs corruption
(The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go has recommended to President Duterte the creation of an expanded inter-agency task force to address systemic corruption in government.

This, he said, is in support of initiatives of various agencies to cleanse their ranks in line with the President’s intensified campaign against corruption.

The proposal came after allegations of prevalent systemic corruption in various agencies – such as the alleged anomalies in the Department of Public Works and Highways, the “pastillas” scheme at the Bureau of Immigration, extortion in the Bureau of Customs and the embezzling of funds in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. – were reported.

“It is enraging to hear such reports because we, led by President Duterte, have always adopted a zero-tolerance policy on corruption. This is why I am recommending to the President to create an enhanced task force to put an end to these unscrupulous activities plaguing our bureaucracy,” Go said.

“Towards the last one year and eight months of this administration, we must not hesitate in cracking down on corruption,” he added.

Go explained that the proposed task force can be a more empowered version of the previous task force created to investigate PhilHealth – with an expanded scope as it should cover all government agencies and should be allowed to operate until President Duterte ends his term in 2022.

He said Duterte’s anti-corruption efforts should not go to waste and be strengthened for the remainder of the administration’s term.

The senator wanted the expanded task force to have enough power to conduct probes on any government agency with the support of anti-corruption bodies like the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

These powers should include a mandate to investigate allegations of corruption in any agency, conduct lifestyle checks on officials, audit public funds, prosecute and file charges, recommend suspensions when necessary and put in jail those who will be found guilty.

“Just like what we’re doing in fighting the pandemic, we should also help each other in putting an end to corruption in our system,” he stressed in Filipino.

Go warned public servants to live within their means and adhere to the values and standards set forth in Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

In line with a zero-tolerance policy against corruption, Go reiterated that there must be more safeguards to protect public funds from corruption, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Filipinos must know where their money is going and how it is being used. They entrusted this money to us so it can benefit all and not just a few. That is why every peso should be accounted for up to the last centavo and used solely for public service,” he emphasized.

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