"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Transparency in government expropriation projects

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday proposed the posting of information relating to the disbursements for government expropriation projects, in order to avert suspicions of overpricing in government transactions.

Gordon filed Senate Bill 2634, which seeks full disclosure of all government transactions involving public interest by posting a summary of disbursements, as senators remain locked in discussions on the alleged double budget insertion for the C-5 road project.

He said the summary should be posted within the premises of the national, regional and local offices of the implementing agency, as well as within the local government unit that has jurisdiction over the expropriated property.

"Allegations of overpricing and speculation in budgetary allocations for infrastructure development abound as the 2009 General Appropriations Bill is being deliberated in Congress. Among the most controversial items are payments for the expropriation of lands for government infrastructure projects," Gordon said.

The senator said the summary of disbursements would include information on the project such as the title and names of the owners of the property being expropriated, the valuation of the property as allocated in the government budget, and all disbursements, expenditures and utilization funds for such expropriation, including right-of-way payments.

He said projects involving right of way should be published so that the public would know whether there was a fair price or an overpricing.

"I think the people deserve the kind of transparency that must be given by any government when public funds are disbursed," Gordon said.

He added: "Making available to the public these important details in government transactions and projects would be the first step in combating corruption in this sector."

The senator said many government agencies have committed countless violations of the right of Filipinos to information of public interest and concern because there is no mechanism that would allow the people to look into government projects.

He said allegations of overpricing in government transactions will be averted if government agencies can provide accessible and comprehensible information concerning the disbursement and use of public funds in expropriation proceedings.

Gordon wants transparency in disbursements for gov't expropriation projects
Amita Legaspi, GMANews.TV
09/23/2008 | 12:07 PM


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