The Office of the President (OP) and the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that aims to strengthen and rationalize government’s initiatives against corruption.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed the MOA on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Integrity Management Program (IMP) during a simple ceremony held at the Kalayaan Hall in the Malacanang Complex.
“In behalf of the Office of the President, we would like to congratulate the people and organization behind this major initiative for successfully bringing together two important offices in order to strengthen and rationalize government initiatives against corruption to concretize the President’s vision for a government that treads the straight path, or Tuwid na Daan,” Ochoa said during the event.
He said the signing of the MOA is one of the many steps the Aquino administration has taken and will continue to take, to make good on the government’s commitment to institutionalize good governance.
For her part, Morales described the partnership between the OP and the Ombudsman as “historic” saying that it “further exudes inspiring hope for the Philippines to foster a culture that rejects corruption and embraces the values of integrity, rule of law, sustainable development and inclusive growth.”
Under the MOA, the OP and the OMB shall constitute a Joint Technical Working Group to draft a multi-stakeholder mechanism for implementation and review of the UNCAC as well as a Project Management Committee (PMC) that will provide overall direction and technical support to the agency implementers to attain a viable integrity management program.
The Philippines is a signatory to the UNCAC as ratified by the Philippine Senate on November 8, 2006, which stipulates State Obligations to comply with the UN Standards in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange.
Last December 2012, the OP and the OMB jointly conducted the National Dialogue and planning of the UNCAC that resulted in the crafting of the 21-Point UNCAC Agenda with a multi-sectoral Declaration of the Commitments for full institutional cooperation to serve the noble objective of the same.
On the other hand, the Integrity Management Program is the first joint anti-corruption program of the OP and the OMB replacing the Integrity Development Action Plan and the Integrity Development Review. Supported by the World Bank, this program is envisioned to be the primary national anti-corruption prevention framework of the government.
The IMP further aims to achieve outputs such as delivery of capacity building interventions on integrity management for implementing agencies; provision of technical assistance to agencies; establishment of a monitoring and evaluation system for the IMP; institutionalization of rewards and incentives system; and implementation of integrity management advocacy strategies.
It likewise focuses on the formulation of integrity policies; development of integrity management plans; mobilization of integrity management committees; and implementation of integrity management instruments.
Through these outputs, the Integrity Management Program is expected to produce outcomes including agencies that are less vulnerable to corruption; more transparent, accountable, and participatory governance; reduction of level of corruption and practice of integrity in the public sector.
The MOA shall take effect 15 days after the signing by the parties.
The MOA signing was also attended by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, representatives from the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and other development partners, civil society and business groups and other oversight agencies on anti-corruption and officials of the OP and OMB.