• Open governance bodes real change–DBM chief


    Participation in transparency in governance will continue to promise “real change to Filipinos all over the world,” Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a public forum on Tuesday.

    “We have further cemented our position as a global leader in governance. This is an administration that values participation in governance. We will make the government more transparent, accountable through the open government partnership platform,” the Budget chief and co-chairman of the Participatory Governance Cluster said in his speech.

    Around 400 participants including local and national government officials, public sector representatives and individual citizens took part in a town hall session in the first Luzon-leg Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogue in Quezon City on Tuesday morning.

    National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, Interior Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera, and Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya were among the officials who answered questions from the crowd concerning their respective units, projects and commitment plans.

    Among the issues taken up in the forum were preparations and projects under the federal government envisioned by the Duterte administration.

    “Most of our infrastructure development plans and projects will happen before the change in the Constitution. And these will not get in the way if there will be a change [since we are focusing]on regions outside Manila,” Pernia said when asked about the status of infrastructure programs.

    He reiterated that the government is already targeting the completion of at least half of the 75 flagship projects before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in 2022.

    “We plan to strengthen the regions so that the transition to the federal form of government will be smooth and effective,” Pernia said.

    Año noted that the Interior department will continue to ensure that “power-hungry” officials will be removed from office if the transition will take place soon.

    “Our objective is [even if an official was voted by the people, if he is]corrupt, we will remove him until we have the right person who can govern,” he said.

    Andanar said the PCOO is already planning to construct media hubs and government satellite networks in rural areas and delegate barangay (village) information officers to help disseminate information to the masses.

    “We are building the first Mindanao media hub,.. and we also plan to do the same for the Visayas. Meanwhile, [we are readying]government satellite networks [that can give]satellite receivers [or cable boxes]so that people in over 42,000 barangay [village]can talk to the President,” Andanar said.

    According to Diokno, the forum is already on its fourth of a series of town hall sessions with citizens on key issues and their concerns about the government from their respective areas.

    Previous regional dialogues were also held in Bacolod City, General Santos City, and Zamboanga early this year in partnership with the Interior department and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


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