SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), in line with its corporate governance initiative and in support of President Aquino's "Tuwid na Daan" program, is now moving to institutionalize the Integrity Pledge (IP) program, which requires ethical business practices.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the program will cover all officials and employees of the agency and will promote measures to eliminate graft and corruption in transactions within the free port.
Garcia also said that under the program, the SBMA will require Subic Bay Freeport stakeholders like business locators, as well as suppliers and contractors to sign the Integrity Pledge to remain in good standing with the SBMA.
The SBMA will also encourage local government units (LGUs) that transact business with the SBMA to sign the pledge. The SBMA provides revenue shares to eight LGUs that are contiguous to or affected by the operations of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Garcia, as head of the SBMA, signed in July last year the Integrity Pledge, which expressed the agency's commitment to abide by ethical business practices and to support a national campaign against graft and corruption.
He said that upon signing of the Integrity Pledge, the SBMA implemented various measures to ensure transparency and implemented strict guidelines on receiving and giving of gifts, contributions, sponsorships and other tokens from or to all sectors.
"As a matter of fact, the SBMA is already implementing appropriate internal systems and controls to prevent, detect, and respond to any unethical conduct by our personnel, ensure good governance, and institutionalize the values of integrity and accountability in our business transactions," Garcia also noted.
He added that the SBMA has long been eradicating one major source of corruption, the red tape, in its offices by continuous simplification of processes to expedite transactions in accordance with R.A. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape act of 2007.
Proof of this effort, Garcia said, is the agency's certification for ISO 9001:2008, which refers to quality management system that ensure that customers get consistent and good quality products and services.
In a recent briefing on "Improving the Business Climate Thru Integrity Initiative", Jose Solomon Cortez of the Integrity Initiative Office explained that the program aims to prevent corruption in public contracting to the effect that neither the government agency nor the bidders will pay, offer, demand, or accept bribes, or collude with competitors to obtain contract.
Garcia said that all these measures are designed to impress upon everybody that the SBMA is seriously committed to help break the cycle of corruption.
He said that a monitoring team will be formed to facilitate the implementation and document the success of the agency's initiatives. (30)