Sunday, June 29, 2014

Unethical Practices in some LGUs

Public office can be a profitable business, which some of us want to be part of. Officials holding public office enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers’ money, while business owners are operating their businesses as honestly as possible. Wittingly or unwittingly, some of these public officials are using the power of their office for making private gain in breach of laws and regulations or practicing unethical norms in order to serve private ends.


Corruption is so pervasive in our bureaucracy. It is difficult to identify the exact pattern of expansion of corrupt practices. Corrupt practices are not just an individual act. More often than not, it is a series of acts by several officials and private individuals because of the interlocking nature of government decision making and the need to keep corrupt acts within a discreet circle.


There are, however, some signs of how corrupt practices are done by some local government officials’ work that are most vulnerable to unethical practices, such as:

1.   Personnel Hiring and Appointment. When a politician yields to pressure from relatives, friends and supporters to appoint them or their protégés to government positions. 

2.   Purchasing Practices. Local officials who decide on the quality, quantity and prices of purchases could favour certain firms and suppliers who may be relatives or friends, in exchange for hefty “commissions.” Other questionable practices: non-delivery (“ghost delivery”) of purchased items; overpricing of goods.

3.   Awarding of Construction Contracts. Officials who control the awarding of contracts could favour specific construction and service contractors by manipulating the bidding process, such as: overpricing work program estimates prepared by the engineering office; invitation to bid limited to certain contractors; collusion among contractors in fixing the bid prices; making payments not commensurate to work accomplished; splitting of contract amounts to suit the desired level of approving/signing authority.

4.   Enforcement of Government Rules and Regulations. Businessmen, political leaders and members of interest groups who are either friends of the mayor or who supported his campaign, the latter could turn a blind eye on offenses committed by friends while imposing unreasonable demands on enemies.

5.   Use of Government Property. Government regulations ban the use of government property and supplies for personal purposes, such as : the use of government vehicles for private use; stealing of government property, including bringing home of office supplies for personal use; encashing gas slips for personal vehicle use; abusing representation expense accounts.

6.   Zoning and Business Direction. The authority to zone could be used to favour certain groups and individuals. Zoning influences the development of areas and increases their real estate values.

7.   Awarding of Concessions. The mayor has the power and authority to grant local concessions, which could be granted to undeserving groups and individuals.

8.   Cash Advances and Intelligence Funds. Local government officials use cash advances/intelligence funds for personal gain. These advances/funds remain unliquidated.

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