Heeding to President Rodrigo Duterte's marching order to eliminate corruption in the government, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) brings the war against corruption in the local government units (LGUs) with the launching of the Bantay Korapsyon program.
DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that Bantay Korapsyon is a flagship program of the DILG encouraging the involvement and participation of various stakeholders in the fight against corruption down to the grassroots level.
"Walang korapsyonnadapatnangyayarisa national man osa local level. Government positions are not trophies, but are sacred symbols of trust and responsibility accorded to them by the people, laden with high expectations of accountability," says Año in his message during the launch of the program in Quezon City.
The DILG Chief says public service is a public trust hence local officials who have sworn to serve the interests of the public and are instead enriching themselves in power should be held accountable and culpable for corruption.
Año explains that Bantay Korapsyon starts from the people being involved in the fight against corruption by airing their complaints through Hotline 8888, the Presidential Complaint Center and even walk-in complaints.
"The community plays a vital role in this program. What we need are information from our citizens to pin down erring local officials," he says.
He says that if the complaints or allegations are firm in substance and form, appropriate charges will be filed but if not, the DILG will either gather information through fact-finding or call the attention of the local chief executives.
If the allegations have corroborative evidence or statements, as gathered through fact-finding, a case build up will be developed which would, in turn, need the support of other government agencies.
"We will bring the service to the people and to do this we must get rid of corruption. Wala tayongpipiliin, as demonstrated by the President himself by firing officials, even the ones closest to him," he adds.
The program also introduces a three-pronged strategy to combat corruption through education by improving awareness regarding corruption; prevention by reducing opportunities to do corrupt acts; and determent by raising the probability of catching the corrupt and rewarding good practices all achieved through partnerships and community mobilization, and community-specific, LGU-nuanced, and DILG-focused capacity development interventions.
The DILG Chief also says that the Department will go on to the specifics of a local official's corruption culpability, saying that "this time we will make sure that the program will be implemented."
He warns local officials to refrain from their corruption shenanigans as more mechanisms and avenues are now being instituted for the general public to enable them to call the attention of the national government against abuses committed inside their fences.
"We will see to it that accountability is felt to the skin by our local officials," he says.