IN a bid to strengthen the government’s fight against corruption, the Department of Public Works and Highways created Task Force Against Graft and Corruption or TAG to probe allegations of widespread anomalies in the agency.
DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar issued Department Order Number 101 forming a five-member committee that will investigate the corruption allegedly perpetrated by officials and/or employees of the department which are based on valid complaints.
“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,” he said.
The TAG is tasked to observe due process and recommend appropriate actions to be taken regarding concerned officials and employees seen to have participated in anomalous activities unbecoming of public servants.
Villar also authorized the body to form a technical working group that will serve as its secretariat to further investigate Duterte’s claim that no DPWH project starts without an illegal transaction.
“This is just a step to becoming exemplary government officials and employees that will help boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department in exercising its mandate for the people,” he further explained.
Major anti-graft and corruption policies and programs implemented by Villar in the past include: setting up a system that requires audit in all technical process of projects; and requiring geotagged photo monitoring of DPWH projects before project implementation, upon mobilization, monthly progress, and completion.
Earlier in his term as DPWH chief he rolled out the Document Tracking System for civil works, consulting services, and procurement of goods in all DPWH offices nationwide, which allows online monitoring of contractors’, consultants,’ and suppliers’ transactions. He also issued policies allowing contractors to apply and update profile online, as well as submit bidding online to further decrease human intervention and corruption.
Furthermore, the Complaints Validation and Investigation Committee was reconstituted to fast-tract complaints against DPWH official/s and/or employee/s and ensure violations are penalized.
Villar has also intensified DPWH’s blacklisting of contractors for violating government contracts, preventing erring contractors from participating in all government contracts.