Based on today's papers, the Senate yesterday felt that one way to stop corruption and bid rigging contractors, public works officials and pork barrel holders (ehem) is by calling the World Bank to the stands. Yes, the same institution that submitted an investigative/referral report (waaaayyy) back in November 2007 on certain companies and individuals involved in the alleged collusion. These referral reports, as required by the WB's sanctions procedures, are meant to help government act on allegations of misuse of the Bank's funds. It's logical, really, that an institution like the World Bank wants to make sure that its funds and development aid does not find its way in the hands of private, greedy individuals.
I could not help but also find this Senate investigation unneccesary, as expressed by Neal Cruz of the Inquirer. Bid-rigging and other similiar unlawful activities are an open secret. The Senate, and the rest of the Government, should have worked on this problem A LONG TIME AGO, even before the WB submitted its referral report in 2007 (two years ago...hello). I find it embarrassing that an organization outside the Philippine government should TELL US that WE have a problem to solve.
Our good Senators and the lady Ombudsman went all emotional and patriotic yesterday by calling the World Bank a "squatter in Philippine territory". Ah, okay. Let's not resolve to name-calling. It's a referral report people (available BACK IN 2007), they are not dictating anything. Am sure our dear leaders can speak with WB representatives on the issue at hand (yes, yes, let's stick to the issue, please) and determine the best practices that would prevent any anomalies vis-a-vis the development funds. I don't think the Bank makes these reports just for the heck of it, their integrity as an organizaton is on the line. If their representatives on the ground heard any allegations of corruption, it is understandable they would want to scrutinize it further.
I think the matter is serious enough to merit an investigation on our part (which we should have started, oh, I don't know, BACK IN 2007!!!). If our dear Senators want to be patriotic, they should've made sure the Filipino taxpayers are getting their money's worth with all of these "in-aid-of-legislation" investigation of theirs.
Friday, February 13, 2009