The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Monday said it has created a task force against graft and corruption to investigate allegations of widespread anomalies in the agency.
“This is not only in line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s stringent policy towards a clean government but also aimed at providing quality infrastructure as DPWH is one of the lead agencies steering the Build, Build, Build program,” said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
The move comes after President Rodrigo Duterte denounced “prevalent” and “massive corruption” at the DPWH in a recorded televised address two weeks ago. He also said no construction would begin without money changing hands.
Villar had already put in place several measures to address the problem of corruption, including setting up a system that requires an audit in all technical processes of projects, and geotagged photo monitoring of projects before implementation, upon mobilization, monthly progress and completion.
He also rolled out a document tracking system for civil works, consulting services and procurement of goods in all DPWH offices nationwide and intensified the drive to blacklist contractors who violate government contracts.
A Palace spokesman said despite the President’s remarks, he still had trust and confidence in Villar.
A trusted aide to the President, Senator Christopher Go, said Duterte was exasperated by the government, comparing it to a pandemic “destroying our normal lives.”
Go said he would recommend the creation of yet another task force to combat corruption.
Go said the task force would employ “a whole-of-government approach” to put an end to deep-rooted, systemic corruption plaguing the bureaucracy.
He noted that the President was furious following reports of continuing and prevalent corruption in many agencies, including the DPWH, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and even in the agricultural sector where rice smuggling continues.
“It is important to remove the ‘bad eggs’ so that public services in the government will not be hampered or they will no longer influence government employees who want to work,” Go said.
He said the proposed task force could be modeled after the one created to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in PhilHealth. Its scope, however, would include all government agencies, and it would operate until President Duterte’s term ends in 2022.