July 25, 2024

The Filipino saying, “Bago mo linisin ang bakuran ng iba, linisin mo muna ang sarili mong bakuran,” certainly applies to the city government of Baguio given the series of controversies the city and our officials are currently facing in relation to the discharge of their duties.
Just last week, the city council launched an inquiry into the city government’s allowing a building project to continue despite a report from the City District Engineering Office showing defects in the building project. Some council members have even openly declared there was a cover-up on the project’s defect to favor the contractor.
Earlier was a series of adverse reports from the Commission on Audit concerning disbursement of public funds and implemented or unfinished projects in Baguio. In the initial assessment of the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the 2022 Seal of Good Housekeeping, dismal results have also been observed.
The city’s purchase of a contested property in Tuba, Benguet for a housing project is also under question.
A noted member of the Lower House has also called out the city’s chief executive about the operation of illegal gambling in Baguio.
These cannot be considered isolated incidents. In fact, the events that are unfolding are contrary to what good governance this administration is pushing since 2019.
In its effort to fulfil his campaign promise of a clean government, City Hall has initiated measures to ensure that every personnel and office adhere to a graft-free office.
We laud the chief executive, along with trusted personnel, for inspecting public works projects, according to him, to ensure that every centavo of taxpayers’ money is spent well.
Personnel not discharging their duties honestly were reprimanded, or had to exit City Hall.
We believe the chief executive means well. He is after all, known for being a no nonsense leader.
He not only inspects national government-funded projects and reminds personnel to do their jobs well, he was bold enough to file charges against officials whom he perceives as failing to properly do their jobs.
For this, the chief executive earned praises from the public and respect from fellow government officials.
But it seems the chief executive forgot or maybe even overlooked to clean the dirt within his own turf.
He constantly makes public statements about “substandard” projects but is silent about a project under the auspices of the city government that are being questioned by fellow public servants.
Is there a double standard in the mayor’s pursuit for a good government? The mayor has taken the initial steps in ensuring that infrastructure projects under the local government by creating a monitoring committee but more need to be done.
He should consider the city council’s suggestion for him to revamp the composition of the Bids and Awards Committee in order to address accounts from those in the local construction sector that sub-contracting has become rampant so that even unregistered contractors are able to have projects.
There were also allegations about ranking personnel and even people close to him as being involved in some questionable transactions at City Hall. The chief executive should also look into this. If there is truth to it, he should hold those involved accountable.
In the pursuit of a clean and good government, the cleansing should come from within. Otherwise, the issue will just look like it was swept under the rug and the dirt remains.