COTABATO CITY, June 6 (Mabuhay) — Efforts to effect reform in what used to be graft-ridden Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have been gaining headway in the government’s “Daang Matuwid” campaign.
Quite surprisingly, the controversial Department of Education (DepEd-ARMM) has generated a total of P800 million savings from grants from national government in recent months, officials said.
Known for being one of the most corruption-laden ARMM regional offices, the DepEd-ARMM had facilitated the enlistment of teachers to have their first three succeeding monthly paychecks and the agency’s more than P1 billion accounts on unpaid teachers’ premiums with the Government Service Insurance System.
The cleansing of DepEd as ordered by acting Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman led to savings, eradication of “ghost teachers,” “ghost employees,” “ghost school buildings” and “ghost workers” who get their pay on the 15th and 30th day of the month without even reporting for work.
Due to strict accounting procedures and transparent government transactions, the agency managed to save from unspent personnel services allocations.
“Having remove all the ghosts in the agency, the office saved funds amounting to P800 million, huge enough to be spent for additional classrooms,chairs and teachers’ tables,” according to lawyer Jamar Kulayan, ARMM’s education secretary.
Hataman said the amount is intact with the Land Bank of the Philippines and in the official account of DepEd-ARMM.
“The public is invited to check it. It is open to public scrutiny and validation,” Hataman said, adding that has already informed President Aquino of this feat.
Hataman, who was elected as ARMM governor in last month’s regional elections, has repeatedly said that all government transactions in the ARMM, since he assumed office, are open to media scrutiny as what President Aquino wanted it to be.
During his first year as acting governor, Hataman said the DepEd managed to save P70 million.
Another government agency in ARMM known for being the “milking cow” of previous administrations managed to save P136 million last year as a result of Hataman’s efforts to weed out corruption.
President Aquino named Hataman, a former party-list representative, to head the ARMM regional government in caretake capacity.
After making waves as regional chief executive officer in line with “Daang Matuwid” advocacy, President Aquino urged Hataman to seek the peoples’ mandate by running in the May 2013 elections. Hataman did and won.
Less than 30 days before assuming as duly elected regional governor, Hataman has started forming his official cabinet members who will help him institute more reforms in the regional government in preparation for the taking over of the Bangsamoro political government as dreamed by President Aquino with Mindanao peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (MNS)