by Helen Flores – The Philippine Star, 5 Sep 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Amid investigations into the reported mishandling of COVID-19 funds, the Duterte administration has formed the National Anti-Corruption Coordinating Council (NACC) to hasten the detection of irregularities in all levels of government.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairman Greco Belgica said Project Kasangga: Aksyon Kontra Korapsyon, which was launched on Friday, creates anti-corruption coordinating councils (ACCC) within government offices across the country.
The council will be composed of the PACC and 49 other government agencies.
President Duterte will serve as chair of the council, while Belgica will sit as vice-chair.
Belgica described Project Kasangga as a “holistic” way of stamping out corruption since ACCC would be involved in the reporting, validation and investigation of anomalous transactions.
He likened the ACCC to the government’s approach in its anti-illegal drug and anti-insurgency campaigns by creating presence at the barangay level.
“The signing of Project Kasangga seals the President’s firm commitment to really fight corruption the best that he can by institutionalizing anti-corruption committees in all levels of government. We have not seen this in any government,” he said.
“Each office, down to the barangays, there’s PACC to fight corruption,” said Belgica.
He said the ACCC’s work would complement the work of the Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice-led Task Force against Corruption, which have investigative functions.
“It will be complementary because the DOJ-led task force is more investigative than what we are doing today, which is preventive as well as educative,” he pointed out.
Duterte, in a taped message, expressed his support for the campaign, saying it aims to restore the Filipinos’ trust and faith in the government.
“Our fight against corruption will allow us to serve the public with utmost excellence and integrity as well as regain the trust and faith of our people in our institutions. Let us work together to fully realize our dream of a corruption-free Philippines.”
The creation of the anti-corruption council came a day after Duterte lashed out at senators, particularly Sen. Richard Gordon, for scrutinizing pandemic funds spending.
The Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which Gordon chairs, is investigating the government’s multi-billion peso deal to purchase alleged overpriced personal protective equipment and other medical supplies from a company linked to Duterte’s former economic adviser.
Duterte on Thursday denied that the masks and face shields were overpriced and called on the senators to stop their investigations as this allegedly derail the government’s pandemic response.
“All of you in the Senate, do not investigate programs which are on-going. You will derail it, you will delay it by your incessant penchant for investigating government offices,” he said.
Duterte earlier ordered agencies to ignore COA reports and has asked state auditors to refrain from publishing initial findings that “condemn” departments and officials and create the impression that they are corrupt.