THE government is ensuring accountability and transparency in the implementation of projects for the rehabilitation of 171 cities and municipalities damaged by super typhoon Yolanda.

In a press conference in Bogo City, Sec. Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery, said President Benigno Aquino III is serious in implementing the Electronic Management Platform Accountability and Transparency Hub for Yolanda (Empathy).

In Empathy, Lacson said the details of all the 18,000 programs, activities and

projects are uploaded including the location of the project, winning bidder, date awarded to the contractor, cost of the project, date the project started, date of target completion and project status.

Projects

Lacson said Empathy contains programs, activities and projects that are funded in the total amount of P167.8 billion, which is broken down to P52.5 billion for 2014, P83.8 billion for 2015 and P35 billion for 2016.

Lacson said the President told them during a Cabinet meeting last week that he wants the Empathy projects implemented smoothly and successfully before his term ends in 2016.

Lacson said the media, government agencies, government’s bilateral partners like JICA and World Bank, private sector and donors, about 50 of them, are given access to Empathy so they can monitor how the projects are implemented and uploaded their comments, if there is any.

“If a person will report to Empathy that a project is seemingly substandard, we will immediately send a team to inspect it,” Lacson said.

He said the government will also know through Empathy the contractors who are lagging behind in project implementation.

Working on hub

Lacson said they are now working overtime to populate the hub (Empathy). Right now, out of P167.8 billion for Empathy, they have spent P20 billion and accelerating in pace.

“It’s (Empathy) a tool to really maximize (accomplishments) and see to it that there’s accountability and transparency in the implementation of Yolanda projects,” Lacson said.

Lacson said that after the Yolanda projects, the next administration may make use of Empathy to cover the entire archipelago.

“But it depends on the kind of administration we have after the Aquino administration.

If the next administration doesn’t want accountability and transparency, they may dump it and place it in the garbage can. But if they want transparency, they will definitely adopt it,” Lacson said.