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- LGUs still tops agencies with most graft cases Local government officials and employees topped for the 3rd straight year the list of the most number of graft cases filed with the Office of the Ombudsman. The anti-graft agency’s Finance and Management Information Office (FMIO) said a total of 2,014 cases were filed against local government officials last year. However, the number of complaints filed dramatically dropped beginning 2011 with a total of 3,852 cases to 2,669 n 2012. The Office of the Ombudsman said the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces (AFP) placed 2nd (1,312) and 3rd (246) in the 2013 list which also considerably dropped from 1,415 and 332 cases.
- DOF tightens LGU monitoring to raise collection The Department of Finance (DOF) is tightening its oversight on local government units to shore up state coffers as revenue collections from LGUs remain meager. The DOF said there is still room for improvement as revenue collections from LGUs remain below 1% of gross domestic product (GDP). Aside from training people, streamlining processes and upgrading technology, the DOF is also looking at imposing sanctions on local treasurers and assessors for non-compliance with reportorial obligations. Based on the 2012 LGU fiscal sustainability scorecard, there were certain lapses in the performance of reportorial duties to the DOF -- about 69% of the treasurers were not able to submist their reports on time while 6 provinces and 8 cities did not approve the reports at the time of evaluation.
- House probes on missing P30-Bn infra fund The House of Representatives opens an inquiry today into the reported “missing” P30 billion in infrastructure funds during the Arroyo administration. Invited to the initial hearing were Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan of the Commission on Audit and Ramon Allado of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB). The committee on good government and public accountability, chaired by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, is conducting the inquiry, which was prompted by Resolution 592 authored by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone. In his resolution, Evardone said it was Singson and his people who uncovered the missing infrastructure funds.
- Charter change approved by House panel A House panel yesterday approved a resolution calling for changes to certain economic provisions of the Constitution, putting in motion a process that proponents claim will lead to increased investor interest in the Philippines. Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 1, filed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. at the opening of the 16th Congress last July, was passed by the constitutional amendments committee with 24 affirmative votes, 2 nays and 1 abstention. Committee chairman Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano (Davao City, 2nd district) said a panel report would be prepared immediately and presented in the plenary for second reading approval. Mr. Belmonte said the resolution wants particularly to relax the 60-40 rule that limits foreign ownership in certain industries. RBH 1 seeks to add the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law" to the foreign ownership sections of the Constitution, particularly for land, public utilities, natural resources, and media and advertising. The phrase will specifically be added to Sections 2, 3, 7, 10 and 11 of Article 12 on National Patrimony and Economy. It will also be added to Section 4, paragraph 2 of Article 14 on Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports, and to Section 11, paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 16, the General Provisions of the 1987 Constitution.