MALACAÑANG has ordered all state agencies and offices “to ensure timely completion of government infrastructure projects,” with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s spokesman citing his “frustration” with red tape and cumbersome processes that have caused “delays in the implementation of projects.”
Memorandum Circular No. 57 — signed on Feb. 7, distributed to reporters on Monday and which takes immediate effect — covers “all government offices, agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, state universities and colleges, and local government units.”
Warning that causing undue delays in projects is covered by penalties under Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Practices Act, RA 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act and Executive Order No. 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987, the circular reminded all officials involved to “strictly observe the laws, issuances and policies pertaining to the timely completion of government infrastructure projects,” warning of “the imposition of appropriate sanctions for infractions and violations” on this matter.
Asked in a press conference what prompted Malacañang to issue the circular, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo replied: “It should be that way because 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 the government,” he added, recalling Mr. Duterte’s “frustrations over the requirements… legal restraints; kung minsan naman (at times) bureaucracy, bureaucratic red tape.”
For Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, “We’re doing good, much better than any administration in recent Philippine history” in terms of state infrastructure spending.
“We just have to go better if we want to deliver on our ambitious BBB (‘Build Build Build’ infrastructure development) programs and our goal to reduce poverty,” he added. “There is no room for complacency. I see the Memorandum as a reminder for all to work harder…”
Economic managers will ask the Commission on Elections to exempt work on major infrastructure projects from the 45-day ban on public works ahead of the May 13 midterm polls. — Arjay L. Balinbin