No sooner had the ink ran dry on the creation of the Mindanao Development Authority when I spotted a seemingly harmless news item on Inquirer. Here we are talking about the culture of impunity and what can be done to instill integrity. Then, bam, I get a whiff of something that stinks – the smell of delicadeza being placed under a bus and ran over without batting an eyelash and with a wide grin.
I was going through the Inquirer headlines when I spotted
Dureza heads Mindanao development body
By Jeoffrey Maitem, Dennis Jay Santos
First Posted 20:17:00 03/09/2010
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Presidential Assistant Jesus Dureza has been named head of the newly created Mindanao Development Authority (Minda).
Dureza said by text message that he will lead Minda, which was created to consolidate all development efforts for Mindanao, during the next six years.
Minda was created through Republic Act 9996 and will replace the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco).
The creation of the agency, which will operate under Malacañang’s tutelage, was welcomed by Mindanao officials.
“It is important to address the need for a coordinated and integrated approach in the formulation and implementation of various Mindanao wide inter-regional development plans, programs and projects,” Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, who chaired Medco, said when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the bill that created Minda on February 17.
The new body will consolidate peace efforts and the development of the agribusiness sector in Mindanao, he said.
Minda will put up its main office in Maramag, Bukidnon but management offices will also be established in various parts of the island.
I was about to comment how noble of Manoy Jess, moving the Minda office to the hinterlands of Central Mindanao, to be in the geographical heart of Mindanao.
However, upon a closer look. If one were to superimpose the Mindanao road network, my take took a different turn.
Though it makes me ask, for official business, do you really want to make that daunting trip to Maramag? It’s on the border of Davao and Bukidnon, it is so remote – although I admit, it is very scenic. It just does not add up.
Then I remembered what Maramag is all about – that’s where Jess Dureza’s Mountain Resort – Seagull in the Sky is located.
Hit the Ground Running with Impunity
I am so tempted to pick up the phone and call Manong Jess – after all he’s the ninong of my two sisters, noy balato naman dyan. But, been there done that – was an anti-pinoy, too, once upon a time.
It seems Malacañang’s tutelage of MindA is now in full swing – first lesson, “How to be in Denial about Conflict of Interest“.
This enough I can say, if Mindanaoans know any better, they should demand the following from Minda and from Jess Dureza:
- Provide a list of ALL suppliers to the Minda on the Web – for each supplier list the owners, addresses, and phone numbers of the suppliers of anything. I just have this feeling that a lot of this meetings will be in conducted in – tada… Seagull in the Sky – which is owned by Manong Jess Dureza.
- Provide a list of ALL biddings of Minda on the Web. Who the bidders are, names of companies, incorporators, key executives. Make it as transparent and comprehensive as possible, something similar to the Google Finance site. Just making sure that there are no midnight-bids and that the bidders are not related in one way or another to Jess Dureza or his relatives or relatives of his relatives or any of his staff that will front for him.
- List all scheduled meetings of the Pre-Qualification, Bidding, Canvassing, and Awards meeting. The presence of media is a must, deliberations must be aired on a government funded AM radio channel. Ensure that taxpayers and a citizens watchdog committee representative is present in these biddings. If you have to drag a priest, do it – baka may natitira pang kunsensya.
I have a bad feeling about this, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I have a feeling that only roads leading to Maramag will be paved – leaving other areas that are unfortunate not to be called Maramag – in the dust. We have been on this road before, when are we going to ever learn.
Paano ba yan, pakapalan na naman ng mukha?