Change in form of gov’t won’t affect infra program: Pernia

MANILA - - Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said infrastructure projects set to be implemented under the Duterte administration would not be affected by the planned change in the form of government.

I think the change to federal form of government will not be immediately implemented. That's going to be a slow process because the different sectors of the society and even the President is thinking very hard about the pros and cons of the change, he told participants of the two-day Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogue for Luzon Cluster-1 in Quezon City that started Tuesday.

Pernia, who is also the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), is hopeful that most of the infrastructure development plans that economic managers have set are going to be completed or nearly completed before any change in the form of government will happen.

And even if there's a change in the form of government it will not be in the way of completion of the infrastructure development program so there won't be any problem, he said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has been pushing for a federal form of government to strengthen growth in the regions, citing that local officials know their areas more than the national government executives.

He has formed a Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution.

Pernia explained that since most of the infrastructure projects identified by the current administration would be located in the provinces these would even benefit the regions.

These will strengthen the regions. You know, we need strong regions so that a Federal form of government will be effective, he said.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC Eduardo AAo, during the same event, doused fears that corrupt local government officials will have greater power once the form of government is changed from presidential system.

He said the agency had adopted an advocacy to teach people not to sell their votes and instead choose the ones they think would serve them fully.

And kailangan ma-develop natin sa mga (tao) na hindi na uso yung bilihan ng boto (We should develop the thinking that vote-buying is a thing of the past), he said.

AAo said DILG is committed to ensure that the government has incorruptible officials.

He said there are several modes to remove from office corrupt officials and the most effective among these was the power of the Office of the Ombudsman.

He said the Office of the Ombudsman had issued a lot of dismissal and suspension orders, which the DILG had implemented.

He said he personally signed the implementation of dismissal and suspension orders of elected officials almost every week and these were for local government officials down to village officials.

Our objective is to remove any official once he's proven corrupt, even if he was elected by the people. The next in line will take over but if he's also corrupt we will also remove him until the we find the right person to govern, he said.

All we want, as the President has said, we don't want any room for corruption, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency