The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.
We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.
Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.
We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.
I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.
NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.
The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.
We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.
Even during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he persistently pitched for a six-month deadline to solve the drug problem in the country, I already pointed out it was impossible. It remains as impossible as saying he can stop crime.
After two years, it may be wise and prudent for his top advisers to go back to the drawing board and reassess what they did wrong and what they are doing right, not only in the fight against crime and corruption, which is the centerpiece of the Duterte administration’s deliverables, but in the economic sector as well.
For one, the peace-and-order strategy is long on crime suppression and short on prevention. It should be the other way around. We prevent crimes, and those that cannot be prevented from being committed must be suppressed with solid solution through efficient investigative work and techniques.
On the revenue side, the TRAIN law needs to be revisited and amended, and the President, with all his strong influence over Congress, must put his foot down on vested interests of some members of both houses.
On the expenditure side, a.k.a. the General Appropriations Act, the same influence is suggested to minimize wastage of the government’s hard-earned resources by strictly adhering to the existing jurisprudence outlawing pork barrel, which is still evident among selected members of Congress, a few of whom enjoyed as high as nine-figure insertions during the last two budget years under the Duterte administration.