Angara renewed reforms to fight corruption

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 27, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara who is the principal author of republic act 9184 otherwise known as the landmark government reform act of 2003 stressed the importance of procurement reform in the government’s continuing battle against corruption where he renewed his call to fight it.


Angara shared his experience in drafting, lobbying for and ultimately passing one of the biggest anti-corruption laws in the Philippines, saying that it's a subject that probably doesn't interest a lot of people although it affects everyone in our everyday lives.


“How the government procures goods and services?,” he asked saying that we were able to build a critical mass behind the reform and sought to modernize, standardize, and regulate the procurement activities of the government.


“Each government agency or branch must conduct competitive and transparent purchases by means of public bidding,” he said, explaining that the said law focused on the principle of transparency.


The veteran senator said that the budget of every agency is known publicly through websites and bulletins. The bill was created to address the ever-present problem of corrupt purchasing and acquisition practices in the government.


Angara furthered that we must get rid of lawless frontier where anything goes. This was a time marked by confusion and chaos when it comes to state processes.


The Senator who was then the president of the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the Procurement Reform Act introduced an innovation to this movement: the creation of a watchdog formed by members of the civil society.


“The group serves as the eye and ear of the masses to guard the process and a very important check-and-balance to the transactions that the state undergoes.


“With a very simple but striking insight on the nature of reform in a democracy such as ours reform doesn’t have to begin with a battalion. It can just start with one person,” Angara concluded. (Jason de Asis)


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