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Red tape, corruption

Caricature: Ombudsman SALN

TWENTY-one months before President Rodrigo Duterte leaves Malacanang, the public believes that billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money still go into the deep pockets of corrupt government officials and employees.

And to think that one of the “top priorities” of the Duterte administration has been the reduction, if not total eradication of official corruption and red tape, along with illegal drugs and peace and order.

In fact, the Filipino people, particularly ordinary citizens across the Philippines, applauded him when he declared during his inaugural address that he will never tolerate “crooks” and “vultures.”

Later, the tough-talking Chief Executive, a lawyer and a former government prosecutor, realized that ridding the country of grafters, drug pushers, addicts and criminals is better said than done.

That’s why nobody was surprised when President Duterte met with Congressional leaders in Malacanang last Wednesday to discuss measures to fight corruption and red tape in government offices.

The meeting was attended by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Sen.Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez.

Note that the Malacanang meeting was held a year and two weeks before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 9, 2022 elections. The filing of COCs is set first week of October 2021.

After the meeting, Speaker Cayetano called on the government to eliminate bureaucratic red tape as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cayetano said that he could feel the weight of burden on the Chief Executive’s shoulders as they talked about the bureaucratic inefficiencies, adding “let’s fix this government from inside and outside.”

President Duterte desperately wants to make life even just a little bit easier for all Filipinos, according to Cayetano.

He said the President’s anger was palpable against those who make life harder for the people through red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies, or worse those who corrupt the system for their benefit.

Like Cayetano and other well-meaning Filipinos, we believe that there’s no reason why red tape cannot be eradicated before Duterte ends his six-year presidency at 12 noon on June 30, 2022.