#NotOnMyWatch CDO: Kagay-anon youth pledge to fight corruption
CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – As thousands of Filipino youth joined protests nationwide on Friday, November 25, against historical revisionism and the hero's burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the youth of Cagayan de Oro City took on another pertinent challenge: fighting corruption.
Some 150 students and young leaders pledged to fight corruption during the #NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan, the third leg of the series, held at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology on Friday.
According to Edison Lacea, president of Xavier University's Central Student Government, now is the best time for the youth to speak out and demand change from the government.
"To fight, with fearless authenticity, for a better and corruption-free Philippines," pledged Lacea.
He acknowledged that reporting instances of corruption is not an easy task, especially coupled with probable consequences of doing so. "The challenge is for us to have courage in reporting," he said.
Gani Capaning of Watchful, Alert, Truthful Citizens of Honor-Defenders of Good Governance (WATCHDOGG) said that corruption is easy to spot. "You do not need rocket science knowledge for you to spot it," he added.
#NotOnMyWatch is a campaign that promotes accountability and transparency by organizing reports and visualizing them real-time to show the public where corruption occurs most frequently and what form they usually take.
Lacea invited his fellow Kagay-anons to be pro-active in fighting corruption. "(We need) to dream of bigger things for the Philippines and not just post it on social media," he said.
No to corruption
During the forum, participants shared what they wold do to help fight corrupt practices in government.
According to Agnes Carmela, "As a city government employee, I pledge to promote accountability by correcting unjust practices in public service."
Bernie Fabillar of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) also shared what he could do as a government worker. "I pledge to help my city and my country to lessen bureaucracy, diminish red-tape, and eradicate corruption."
Some also promised to report their experience of corruption through the #NotOnMyWatch initiative. Sheba Britos (@sheba_baba) tweeted, "I pledge to report corruption online! Ikaw rin!"
Therese Angelie (@angelie_therese) shared the importance of posting about the right information. "I pledge never to spread fake news, and to always fact-check my posts. Fake news help politicians get away with corruption," she tweeted.
'Let them know you're watching'
During one of the panel discussions, representatives from the regional offices of CSC, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit were present.
Michael Roa, CSC Region X Anti-Red Tape Act Coordinator, shared that CSC is the implementing arm of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA). According to Roa, they look into the compliance of government agencies on the Anti-Fixers rule.
"You cannot blame those clients who want to claim 'fixing' services because the process is already slow. Both sides are to be faulted," Roa said.
According to him, the CSC holds trainings and seminars to help maintain integrity. "Let them know you are watching," he said.
Lawyer Maria Gemma Gavine of the Office of the Ombudsman CDO regional office shared that their office's function in the city is public assistance and graft prevention.
Gavine admitted that there are manpower constraints but she maintained that their office is the drop-off point for pleadings and complaints to be sent to the main Mindanao office in Davao.
She gave assurances that despite the limitation, the Office of the Ombudsman in the region is taking on cases for investigation. Within the period of January to September 2016, they were able to dispose of 809 criminal and administrative cases.
According to a Social Weather Stations poll, businessmen in Cagayan de Oro know about red tape happening in their sector. In 2014 and 2015, these numbers decreased to about 31% of those surveyed from the 2013 figures of 37%.
Every year, the Philippines loses billions of dollars to corrupt practices. Money lost could have been directed to provide vital basic services, reduce poverty, or build infrastructure. (READ: Impact of corruption on the Philippines)
Many policies and initiatives have been done in the past to prevent corruption but clearly, more needs to be done.
What about you? What is your pledge to help fight corruption? – Rappler.com
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