Concerned citizens’ help needed in corruption cases vs DENR people
This refers to Remedios Paez’s letter (“Anomalies in the DENR,” Opinion, 1/23/16) which alleged numerous anomalies involving personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, particularly in the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in Bulacan and Rizal.
We truly thank concerned citizens like Paez for disclosing such relevant information.
The department has been very serious and committed to improving our delivery of services to the public, especially to improving integrity, management and good governance. To promote personnel discipline, we have vigorously filed administrative cases against erring employees, including those pertaining to the implementation of the NGP. At present, 32 persons have been dismissed from service, 58 suspended, and 12 fined. Another 418 personnel are under fact-finding investigation, even as 598 more have been issued show-cause order, and 55 others are facing formal charges.
Recently, complaints against 20 DENR personnel from Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Palawan and Negros Occidental for alleged irregularities in the NGP implementation have been filed in the Ombudsman. Meanwhile, 38 DENR personnel were investigated in connection with the reported low survival rate (below 50 percent) of planted seedlings under the NGP in Regions I, III and IX. In Bulacan and Rizal, where NGP-related irregularities have been alleged by Paez, investigations against 18 personnel are ongoing.
We request Paez to assist us by cosigning with us the complaints to be filed against those she referred to in her letter. Her cooperation is indispensable in gathering strong evidence. Her formal testimony in support of her allegations will enable us to nail those corrupt personnel.
Likewise, we wish to assure the public and Paez that safeguards are in place to prevent irregularities in the implementation of the NGP. Submission of accomplishment reports by field officials is required and the reports must be under oath. Monitoring of the accomplishments of people’s organizations supported with geo-tagged photos is mandatory, before funds are released. The department also ordered 100-percent validation of the annual accomplishment of the NGP.
Finally, we wish to further assure the public that we are relentless in ensuring that the NGP—a major program of this administration to promote reforestation, poverty reduction and climate change mitigation—will achieve its target of planting 1.5 million hectares by the end of 2016, in the spirit of integrity and good governance.
—RAMON J.P. PAJE, secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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