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9 Philippine Government Agencies That Need To Reform Right Now

9 Philippine Government Agencies That Need To Reform Right Now

Nowadays, it’s a normal thing for us Filipinos to have a negative view of our government agencies. And who can blame us? We hear about their controversies and misdeeds on the news almost every day.

Also Read: 10 Things Filipino Politicians Must Stop Doing

Although we believe that not all the people in these agencies are corrupt or incompetent, we feel that more should be done to make these organizations genuinely effective. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to feel proud of our government agencies for a change?

1. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

Mandated by the Constitution to protect the people, the sovereignty of the State, and the integrity of the national territory, the AFP used to be the best fighting force in Southeast Asia and one of the finest in Asia1. However, our armed forces are unequipped to meet modern-day warfare’s challenges.

What Needs To Be Done:

Modernization. And not just in trickles, too. We must quickly modernize our armed forces to assert our rights, especially in domestic and international disputes.

While we’re at it, we should also purge the corrupt from the ranks of the AFP who pocket funds meant for the organization and its men. Who could ever forget the Zambo Siege, where soldiers were pictured fighting with worn-out boots while asking for food from the residents? Compare that with the millions pocketed by corrupt generals or given away via the “pabaon” system, and you can see how unequal the flow of funds is within the AFP.

2. Philippine National Police (PNP)

Philippine National Police (PNP)

According to its mission, the PNP “shall enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.” Unfortunately, some within its ranks haven’t been very faithful to their mission; not a day passes without news of some police-related controversy.

What Needs To Be Done:

Revamp the entire organization. Frankly, almost everyone these days has a negative view of the police mainly because of the incompetence and evil acts of some of its members, which include the lowest-ranking patrolman and the top brass.

While we believe many good men and women are in uniform, we feel that their colleagues—the rotten eggs—should be weeded out of the PNP if they want to improve their image.

3. Bureau Of Customs (BOC)

Bureau Of Customs (BOC)

Tasked to regulate the flow of imports and collect customs duties, the bureau has often been tagged as one of the country’s most hopeless cases.

The culture of corruption reigns supreme inside the agency, with dirty money and smuggled goods exchanging hands unchecked. It is best illustrated by the so-called “Friday Habit,” whereby millions of bribe money is released and shared among the employees.

And where else can you see an ordinary clerk driving a Porsche2? Only at the BOC.

What Needs To Be Done:

Aside from reforms, the bureau needs a strong-willed leader to implement the changes. Unfortunately, all the Commissioners who have come and gone out of the bureau have failed to stamp out the root of corruption, leaving us all hanging up until now.

4. Department of Public Works And Highways (DPWH)

Department of Public Works And Highways (DPWH)

One of three government agencies tasked with significant infrastructure, the DPWH is easily seen by Filipinos as one of the most corrupt agencies in the country. It’s gotten so bad that whenever we hear bribes, kickbacks, and piss-poor construction materials, we inevitably associate them with the DPWH.

Worse, ordinary motorists must bear the consequences of their illicit practices, including the numerous potholes, poorly lit areas, and traffic caused by their never-ending “road repair” projects.

What Needs To Be Done:

Reforms in the bidding and procurement process. To DPWH’s credit, it managed to save the government a whopping ₱15 billion pesos in 2013 when it implemented such reforms, which included phasing out the intent-to-bid letter, negating the ability of corrupt employees and businessmen to know who is bidding for a particular project. If anything, it goes to show how reforms done right can be beneficial for everyone.

5. Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

This agency is designated to collect revenue and taxes for the government. As with any bureaucracy, any money involved usually means the presence of corruption, and the BIR has plenty of it, including victimizing business owners with threats of closure if they don’t pay a bribe. Combine that with the inability (incompetence?) to collect taxes, and you have an agency that perennially misses its target collection.

What Needs To Be Done:

Weeding out the corrupt officers and employees inside the bureau is a good start. Although we may disapprove of the specific strong-arm tactics of a certain commissioner to get taxpayers to pay taxes, we support BIR’s drive to collect more revenue. After all, taxes are the lifeblood of the government, and money is needed to support the country’s development.

6. National Food Authority (NFA)

National Food Authority (NFA)

The NFA is charged with the country’s food security and stabilizes the flow and market prices of grains such as rice. However, such vast powers are also prone to abuse, mainly in rampant rice smuggling into the country, which is ironic considering we are an agricultural nation.

Some within the organization are either inept or in connivance with these smugglers. The result is the loss of billions of pesos in duties and the destruction of farmers’ livelihoods.

What Needs To Be Done:

A three-fold solution, which includes apprehending the smugglers and the corrupt officials, strictly monitoring the influx of rice imports into the country, and, of course, making our own farmers’ rice prices competitive with the rest of the world, could solve this problem.

7. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)

This government-owned and controlled corporation runs casinos and is responsible for regulating the games of chance in the country.

As per its charter, half of its revenue goes to the National Treasury, while a big chunk also supports the government’s different socio-economic and cultural programs. And as we’ve mentioned before, where there’s money, there is corruption. How else would coffee be priced at ₱1 billion3?

What Needs To Be Done:

Go after the corrupt officials inside the corporation. Reforms should be done to make PAGCOR’s finances more transparent and to dissuade unscrupulous individuals from turning it into their piggy bank.

8. Land Transportation Office (LTO)

Land Transportation Office (LTO)

One of a motorist’s most dreaded moments in life usually happens when he/she has to go to the LTO to get a driver’s license, renew a car, etc. After all, LTO—in charge of regulating and enforcing the laws concerning the country’s land transportation—is notorious for its bureaucratic red tape and abundance of “fixers.”

What Needs To Be Done:

By simply reducing the amount of red tape and making processing a whole lot easier, registrants will no longer have to rely on the service of fixers for their papers. Without fixers, corruption will be significantly reduced.

9. Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

As we’ve said, the Philippines is an agricultural country, so DAR exists to implement the Comprehensive Land Agrarian Reform Program Extension With Programs (CARPER) to benefit ordinary and landless farmers.

However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to agrarian reform has been the department’s inability to distribute lands fully, thanks mainly to the country’s large landowners applying every trick to stop their lands from being acquired and distributed.

What Needs To Be Done:

Contrary to popular belief, CARPER is a potent law4, plugging the loopholes under the old CARP (stock distribution options have been abolished, and the DAR has been granted immunity from restraining orders and injunctions in applying the program). Therefore, the only thing left is a strong-willed leader5 fearless enough to face off against the country’s landed elite.

References

  1. Storey, I. (2007) ASEAN and the rise of China. London: Routledge.
  2. Tubeza, P. (2012) Porsche-driving Customs clerk quits, Inquirer.net. Available at: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/150899/porsche-driving-customs-clerk-quits (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  3. ‘Genuino-led PAGCOR management spent over a billion pesos just for coffee’ (no date) PAGCOR.ph [Preprint]. Available at: https://pagcor.ph/press-releases/genuino-led-pagcor-management-spent-billion-pesos-for-coffee.php (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  4. Bello, W. (2014) Agrarian reform: Powerful law, ineffectual bureaucracy, Inquirer.net. Available at: https://opinion.inquirer.net/75458/agrarian-reform-powerful-law-ineffectual-bureaucracy (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  5. Ranada, P. (2014) DAR chief too meek to implement agrarian reform?, Rappler. Available at: https://www.rappler.com/nation/62876-dar-chief-agrarian-reform-implementation/ (Accessed: 04 September 2023).

Written by FilipiKnow

in Facts & Figures, Politics & Religion

Last Updated

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