By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang has reminded heads of all government offices, including state universities and colleges (SUCs), to ensure the timely completion of government infrastructure projects.
In Memorandum Circular No. 57, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that unfinished government infrastructure projects cause great inconvenience and serious damage to the prejudice of the general public, and adversely affect the delivery of basic services.
He also directed all heads and concerned officials and employees of departments, bureaus, and offices, including all government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), government financial institutions (GFIs), SUCs, and local government units (LGUs), to strictly observe laws and policies pertaining to the timely completion of government infrastructure projects, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions for infractions and violations thereof.
In his memorandum, Medialdea reminded government officials and employees that those who fail to do so could be punished with imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office pursuant to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the issuance of the said memorandum may have rooted from President Duterte’s frustration about the long processes to get permitted.
“There have been delays in the implementation of projects and as we know, delays will hamper the services that are supposed to be provided by government,” he said Monday, citing legal restraints and bureaucratic red tape as reasons behind delays in projects.
“I told you about his frustration about the requirements, yung tagal (how long it takes to process them). Syempre, naiinis siya kasi si Presidente hindi siya mahilig sa protocol gusto niya diretso agad (Of course he will be pissed because the President does not like protocols, he want to do things immediately),” he added.
The Government Procurement Reform Act also provides that public officers who delay projects without justifiable cause will suffer the penalty of imprisonment, in addition to the temporary disqualification from public office.
The Administrative Code of 1987 also considers neglect of duty and inefficiency in the performance of official duties as grounds for disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, all officials were also instructed to ensure that measures to promote safety and to mitigate inconvenience to the public are in place.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was tasked to also come up with appropriate measures to ensure the compliance of concerned government agencies and offices with the new circular.