Disclosure Workshop with representatives from the MSG, COA, PhilGEPs, DPWH and the World Bank.Some 30 - 50 percent of the budget for public works in the Philippines reputedly gets lost in leakages. Against this background, several citizen initiatives have taken root in the road sector in the Philippines. The oldest of these is the Citizens of Abra for Good Government, formed in 1986, which has established itself as the country’s pioneer citizen group. In 2008, Bantay Lansangan formed on the heels of a World Bank infrastructure loan scandal: several civil society groups, industry organizations, professional organizations, and academic institutions began partnering reduce corruption in the Department primarily through greater transparency.
Overview of transparency in the construction sector
As part of its objective of building on existing initiatives, the CoST Philippines pilot looked to integrate the disclosure of project information into the Philippines Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPs) and the assurance process into the Commission on Audit (COA).
PhilGEPS is the central portal that hosts information on the public procurement of goods and general support services, civil works or infrastructure projects, and consulting services. In disclosing project information on 10 projects from the Department of Public Works and Highways, (DPWH), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and the Light Rail Transit Administration (LRTA), the coverage of PhilGEPS’s published information was extended from the tender process to the whole project cycle.
The Commission on Audit (COA) was appointed as the CoST Assurance Team because it could leverage existing data gathering processes and it has a mandate to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of government. Since the pilot the CoST Philippines Foundation continues to work with PhilGEPs and the Commission on Audit to make disclosure of CoST project information and assurance a routine task within their respective organisations. This includes the development of an assurance manual and a funding model for PhilGEPs.
Since 2012, CoST Philippines has been working with the Government Procurement Policy Board(GPPB)/PhilGEPS to ensure that project information (PI) on infrastructure contracts and projects is disclosed to the public in a timely manner. In order to integrate assurance processes into the regular functions of the COA, CoST Philippines has also been collaborating with the audit agency.
Furthermore, CoST Philippines and GPPB/PhilGEPS are in the process of developing an Assurance Manual, which includes a COA module and a unit for civil society organisations (CSO). The COA model will allow the agency's auditors to use PhilGEPS for the upload of their assurance findings and observations, while the CSO unit is to promote citizen participation through improving their access to the PhilGEPS portal.
CoST Philippines is registered as a not for profit foundation. The Multi-Stakeholder Group takes on the role of the foundations board and comprises one representative each from civil society (Road Watch), government (Department for Public Works and Highways), the private sector (the Philippine Constructors’ Association), academia (the University of Manila) and development partners (the World Bank Philippines Country Office). The foundation provides a space for like-minded individuals from each stakeholder group to come together and achieve a common goal.
Mrs. Gigi Rodriguez
CoST Philippines Coordinator
w: www.costphilippines.com & www.philgeps.net