By Perfecto Raymundo
MANILA (31May2013) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and World Bank country director Motoo Konishi on Friday signed a US$ 230,000 Grant Agreement on “Enhancing the Income and Asset Declaration System Project.”
The project aims to improve the effectiveness of the system of filing and analyzing Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth by transforming the manual-based system into an electronic or IT-based system, streamlining business processes and procedures, enhancing the monitoring and enforcement of the SALN requirements, and improving transparency and access to the SALNs.
In the signing ceremonies held at the Ombudsman Function Room in Quezon City, Morales said equipping the office with proper tools and systems complement the enhanced techniques and strategies of its graft investigators in the conduct of lifestyle check.
She said “bad elements are keeping up with the times and employing the most sophisticated means of acquiring and hiding their ill-gotten wealth.”
She added it “behooves any anti-graft body to arm itself with upgraded weapons and superior counter-tactics to crush the enemy.”
In his speech, Konishi said the signing of the grant “represents the World Bank’s support to the Government’s broader effort to build stronger and more accountable institutions and promote inclusive growth.”
“We share the Aquino Government’s commitment to ensure that scarce resources are spent honestly and wisely. When public funds are rightly spent, citizens get the education, health care and social services they have paid for and deserve; roads lead to markets; businesses flourish and more people get decent jobs,” he added.
The WB has approved the grant under its Institutional Development Fund, as it recognizes that the system of income and asset declaration is an important tool in detecting and preventing corruption.
Under Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, government officials and employees are required to file their SALNs “(a) within thirty (30) days after assumption of office; (b) on or before April 30, of every year thereafter; and (c) within thirty (30) days after separation from the service.”
The law imposes a penalty of suspension of one month to six months for the first offense, and dismissal from service for the second offense, for failure to file a SALN declaring under oath their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households. (PNA)