THE Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao (OMB-Min) inaugurated its new building Tuesday at GSIS Heights, Matina in Davao City, to offer a bigger home to their growing number of personnel and staff.
Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao lawyer Rodolfo Elman said the new three-storey building came at a favorable time. He added that their new office is geared towards rendering more efficient and effective delivery of services.
In March 2014, the office only had a total manpower of 100, with 12 lawyers handling annual workloads of over 2,000 cases for resolution, six lawyers involved in the active prosecution, and 33 graft investigators/prosecutors.
The OMB-Min since then started recruiting more lawyers and investigators to expedite the investigation of cases, and to maintain or improve its high disposition rate amidst the steady influx of newly-docketed cases, based on its history.
Elman said to facilitate the agency’s operation and overall performance, the recruitment and promotion of personnel for its general administration and support services were also initiated.
"Despite the challenging work conditions, the men and women of the OMB in Mindanao rose to the occasion in order to perform their tasks and ultimately achieve the office's targets in the performance of its main function," Elman said.
This is consistent with the office’s policy thrust for 2011-2018, adopted under the leadership of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability and responsiveness in performance of its mandate and function, with the rationalization of the OMB’s functional structure as one of the 8-point priorities.
With the OMB-Min’s ongoing functional restructuring, the number of personnel is expected to increase for the office to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate as the protector of the people, through their five major functions — Prosecution, Administrative Adjudication, Investigation, Graft Prevention and Public Assistance.
From the six divisions composed of the Evaluation Investigation Office, Prosecution and Monitoring Bureau, Field Investigation Unit (FIU), Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office, the Case Records Management Unit and Administrative Division, the OMB-Min is set to be restructured into nine bureaus, namely: Preliminary Investigation; Administrative Adjudication and Prosecution Bureaus A, B, C and D (PIAAB-A, PIAAB-B, PIAAB-C, PIAAB-D); Field Investigation Bureau (FIB); Public Assistance and Corruption Bureau (PACPB); the Case Record, Evaluation, Monitoring and Enforcement Bureau (CREMEB) and Finance and Administrative Bureau (FAB).
To become a more formidable force against graft and corruption, Elman said, the time has come for the OMB-Min to move from its 1300 square meter work area--with overcrowded workstations, overflowing storage and obstructed aisles—to a newer, bigger and more spacious home, conducive to a growing and vitalized bureaucracy.
Elman said for OMB-Min which has been renting space for the past 29 years, the new building is a dream come true. He added that he has witnessed the institution grow and expand, and along with the increase in the number of workload comes the increase in the number of personnel.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, said the greater foundation of the OMB-Min as an institution lies in the integrity of its people, through its strength of their moral courage in the relentless pursuit of good governance.
"This is gauged by the steadfastness of their keen dedication in addressing the people’s protests against government inaction, delay or abuse," Morales said.
She said OMB-Min finds inspiration in the so-called "pillars" of the institution, or them who have shared in suffering the birth pangs of the office, endured the trying times, and exemplified the very same virtues that the office lives by.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in her speech delivered by City Administrator lawyer Zuleika Lopez, lauded the OMB-Min for its new building. She said she trusts this building will allow better discharge of its mandate to the people.
"May this new building will inspire the men and women of the OMB-Min to continue to protect the people of Mindanao against social injustices, and promote efficiency, integrity, and accountability in public service," Duterte-Carpio said.
Duterte-Carpio said she believes that the office will act promptly on complaints against officers or employees of the government, and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability when the evidence warrants so as to promote efficient service by the government to the people.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on November 22, 2017.
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