The Department of Finance (DOF) has so far taken punitive action against 14 officials and employees under its supervision and introduced reforms in the electronic reporting system for treasurers of local government units (LGUs), in line with President Duterte’s commitment to ensure transparency and accountability in government on his watch.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the implementation of separate rulings of the Office of the Ombudsman to either suspend or dismiss from the service the erring officials in just six months into the Duterte administration.
He has also required treasurers of LGUs to include in their quarterly and annual financial reports to the DOF all environment and natural resources revenues and expenditures, particularly the payments made by the mining and other extractive industries to their respective LGUs.
The directive earned for the DOF the 2016 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Chair’s Award last February during the EITI Global Conference held in Lima, Peru. The Philippines was cited for its “impactful implementation” of the EITI.
On the local government front, the following officials under DOF supervision have been dismissed from the service in response to the Ombudsman’s rulings on their cases involving either grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, serious dishonesty, or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service:
Customs Operations Officer Khalid Minoao Calandada; municipal treasurers Ananie Raluto of Zamboanga del Sur, Eddie Rodriguez of Occidental Mindoro, Aniceta Suyat of Buguias in Benguet, Candidato Macabangon of Bubongin Lanao del Sur, Cipriano Plazos of Katipunanin in Zamboanga del Norte, and Angelita Roble of Tudela in Cebu.
The following were suspended for various periods either for simple neglect of duty or simple dishonesty:
Customs Special Agent Samuel Gamao Saed, Customs Operations Officer IV Jerry Gomez Ponce, municipal treasurers Carlos Bengil of South Cotabato, Cherryl Aguirre of Valladolid in Negros Occidental, Rosita Siniclang of Emilio in Ilocos Sur, Jose Pastor Jr. of Talaingod in Davao del Norte; and Local Treasury Operations Officer IV Marilou Rivera, the designated provincial treasurer in-charge-of-office of Misamis Oriental.
Dominguez has also ordered the filing of administrative charges against fugitive Laoag City Treasurer Elena Asuncion, and has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct deeper probes into the over P85 million-worth of missing public funds under her accountability.
Under Department Order No. 049-2016, Dominguez mandated local treasurers to include in their regular electronic Statement of Receipts and Expenditure (eSRE) reports all payments made by extractive industries along with the detailed account of the shares from national wealth and their LGUs’ expenditures using the receipts/collections from these businesses and from the development and utilization of national wealth.
Other monetary and non-monetary benefits received by LGUs from extractives industries must also be included in their quarterly eSRE reports to the DOF.
Local treasurers have been required since 2011 to report to the DOF on a quarterly and annual basis the fiscal and financial operations of their respective LGUs through the eSRE system.
This time, Dominguez directed them to expand the scope of their reports to include mining and other extractive industries.
Under Dominguez’ new directive, local treasurers will submit their reports through a web-based Environment and Natural Resources Data Management Tool (ENRDMT), which is a data management system associated with the eSRE system that is being maintained by the DOF-attached Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).
The directive is in line with the BLGF thrust on greater transparency in local fiscal and financial management, Dominguez’s order said.
The DOF conducted LGU roadshows in six key areas with large-scale industries to gather inputs from concerned stakeholders and discuss extractive-related issues and their concerns. Workshops on the ENRDMT to educate local treasurers on this new data management tool were held during these roadshows.
A consultation workshop to pilot the implementation of a similar monitoring tool for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was also conducted last Dec. 27 in Davao City.
Dominguez has directed local treasurers to include in their eSRE reports the following direct and non-direct payments made by the extractive industries to their LGUs:
Ø Local taxes, fees, and other charges;
Ø Receipts of shares from national wealth in their localities;
Ø Expenditures of LGUs coming from receipts/collections from the extractive
industries and shares from national wealth; and
Ø Such other monetary and non-monetary benefits received by LGUs from extractive industries and shares from national wealth.