Local Governments

THE 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provides for a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority emanating from them. As in past constitutions, the 1987 Constitution vested the power of government on the executive, legislative, and the judiciary.

But how much do you know about how government is supposed to work? Do the structures of government make sense to you? Learn more about the Philippine government.

, Pertinent documents and links

, Findings and Recommendations Concerning the Events of 27 July 2003 at Oakwood

, Code of Ethics for Government Officials and Employees

, Government Procurement Reform Act



ODA Surge Sparks Scandals for Arroyo, Debt Woes for RP
by Roel R. Landingin

THIS three-part series caps a six-month review by the PCIJ of project and official documents covering 71 ODA projects funded by the Philippines biggest ODA lenders. Part 1 looks at how the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and its project evaluation process have been weakened and violated by pressure from lobbyists and political sponsors of some projects. READ ON

Price-Control-Board Debate May Delay Cheap Drugs Law
by Alecks P. Pabico

AFTER almost a decade, a bill seeking to ensure access to affordable, quality medicines by majority of poor Filipinos is on the verge of finally becoming a law. But unless the matter devolves into one of political expediency, contentious issues between the House and Senate versions of the bill could delay its immediate passage. READ ON

Too Many Buses, Too Many Agencies Clog Edsa
by Margaret Jao-Grey

THE continued clogging of Edsa is blamed on the huge volume of buses that are often just half-full. While private vehicles outnumber buses, the lack of discipline of bus drivers has made them target for regulation. But therein lies another reason for the gridlock: the various agencies with varying rules in an attempt to decongest Edsa, and the creative ways by which bus companies are able to violate these rules. READ ON

For more reports, visit the PCIJ website.

Web i-site.ph



Gov't Curbs Access to Information Amid Senate Scrutiny of Projects

IN 1776, Sweden enacted its freedom of information law, the first country in the world to do so. While it has been challenged time and again, the courts have invariably ruled in favor of disclosure.

In the Philippines, while the public’s right to information is firmly enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, access to public records largely remains limited, and many journalists under constant pressure of deadlines have had to resort to various ways to acquire documents other than what official sources could share.

For about six months, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) sought to uncover and scrutinize documents on projects funded with official development assistance (ODA). Our experience highlights the government’s snail-paced progress toward transparency, and full compliance with the Constitution’s provision on access to information.

The three-part series written for the PCIJ by Roel Landingin, senior correspondent of The Financial Times of London, reflects the reluctance by many government agencies to allow public access to documents that involve use of taxpayers’ money. The report published in February 2008 established that 7 in 10 ODA projects reviewed have failed to deliver their touted promise of economic benefits.

To support Landingin’s report, the PCIJ filed 23 written requests for documents with various government agencies. Only 15 were granted, for a 65 percent response rate, even as many of the agencies failed to provide all the data that PCIJ had asked for. The agencies who turned down the requests similarly invoked either the so-called confidential nature of the documents requested, or the seemingly catch-all excuse called “executive privilege.”

This special report on access to information on ODA projects tells of the various ways by which government agencies heed — or altogether ignore — legitimate requests for public documents, despite persistent avowals of official commitment to transparency and accountability in the public service.


Congress Passes Even Fewer Laws on Bigger Budget
by Lala Ordenes-Cascolan

LAWMAKERS themselves admit the 13th Congress was "dismal" in performance, having passed the lowest number of bills of both national and local importance since 1987. Of the 84 bills it was able to enact into law, only 32 were of national significance.

A SINGLE law now costs the Filipino people about P148.94 million. 

That’s based on the budgetary allocation given to the present Congress, which is P12.51 billion, and the number of laws it has passed so far, which is 84. Compared to its immediate predecessor, the 13th Congress had an allocation that was bigger by P1.27 billion. Yet it is 89 laws short of the accomplishments of the 12th Congress, which had posted the lowest output since the restoration of a bicameral legislature. That is, until this Congress, which has only three sessions to go once it resumes in June.


What citizens can do about corruption

Citizens who have investigated and verified suspicions of graft and corruption committed by officials or employees of government can seek redress from a number of avenues. Depending on the gravity and nature of the offense, and the rank of the official involved, they can do any of the following:


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