9 Philippine Government Agencies That Need To Reform Right Now

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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 truly 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 Asia. Today, however, our armed forces are woefully unequipped to meet the challenges of modern-day warfare.

 

What Needs To Be Done:

Modernization. And not just in trickles too. We need to quickly modernize our armed forces if we want to assert our rights especially in cases of 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 get a picture of just how unequal the flow of funds are within the AFP.

 

2. Philippine National Police (PNP).

Philippine National Police (PNP)
Source: pnp.gov.ph

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 by without news of some police-related controversy popping up.

 

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 unscrupulous acts of some of its members, which include the lowest-ranking patrolman all the way to the top brass.

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

 

3. Bureau Of Customs (BOC).

Bureau Of Customs (BOC)
Via Wikimedia Commons

Tasked to regulate the flow of imports and collect customs duties, the bureau has oftentimes 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 Porsche? Only at the BOC.

 

What Needs To Be Done:

Aside from reforms, what the bureau needs is 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)
View of Skyway, SLEX and PNR lines and the Makati City skyline on the horizon. Via Wikimedia Commons.

One of three government agencies tasked with major infrastructure, the DPWH is easily seen by Filipinos as one of the most corrupt agencies of 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.

What’s worse, it’s ordinary motorists who have to bear the consequences of their illicit practices which include 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 P15 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 certain 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 basically 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. And although we may disapprove of the certain strong-arm tactics of a certain commissioner to get taxpayers to pay taxes, we do 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)
Source: dipolognon.com

The NFA is charged with the country’s food security and is responsible for stabilizing the flow and market prices of grains such as rice. However, such vast powers are also prone to abuse, mainly in the form of 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 end result is not only the loss of billions of pesos in duties, but also 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 conundrum.

 

7. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)
Resorts World Manila Mall and casino. Via Wikimedia Commons.

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 goes to support 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 P1 billion?

 

What Needs To Be Done:

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

 

8. Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Land Transportation Office (LTO)
Source: dipolog.com

One of a motorist’s most dreaded moments in life usually happens on the day he/she has to go to the LTO to get a drivers’ license, renew a car, etc. After all, LTO—which is 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 greatly reduced.

 

9. Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Via Wikimedia Commons

Like we’ve said, the Philippines is an agricultural country, hence the reason why DAR exists: to implement the Comprehensive Land Agrarian Reform Program Extension With Programs (CARPER) in order to benefit the ordinary and landless farmers.

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

 

What Needs To Be Done:

Contrary to popular belief, CARPER is a very powerful law, having plugged 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 that’s left is a strong-willed leader fearless enough to face off against the country’s landed elite.

 

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