INTRODUCTION “Tuwid na Daan” or the Straight Path is a phrase repeatedly mentioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III to pertain to his governance direction for the country. Essential to this concept of “Tuwid na Daan” is the battle cry “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.” The administration believes that corruption is the root cause of the country‘s woes, and eliminating corruption will necessarily lead to renewed investor confidence, eventual growth and development, poverty reduction, and attainment of peace. The straight path, however, does not only pertain to the President‘s anti-corruption campaign. It also encompasses a way of doing things right, where the process is participatory; the programs are holistic; growth is sustained; the peace policy is comprehensive; and development is sustainable. Through the living examples of our leaders, led by the President, this re-awakened sense of right and wrong continues to be translated to economic value. It is in this light that the accomplishments of the Aquino Administration, since the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2010, are being highlighted: A. GOOD GOVERNANCE AND ANTI-CORRUPTION Taking the initial step in the achievement of ―Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap‖, where eradicating corruption is seen as the key approach to development, President Aquino laid the foundations for a clean, transparent, and responsive government. Key reforms continue to be instituted to reduce red tape, enforce anti-corruption and anti-red tape laws, and penalize those who violate these laws. The government is also fixing the incentive structures to recognize merit and reward good performance with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the Aquino reform agenda. These and other initiatives are presented below: 1. Institutionalizing Public Accountability 1.1. Reforming the budgeting and project identification processes 1.1.1. Government‘s prudent expenditure management was a result of the use of the Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) approach in 2010. The ZBB enables the government to identify and terminate programs that are no longer delivering intended outcomes. The savings generated from these terminated programs were channelled to programs that are performing well and to other priority programs to address critical gaps in education and health. As part of the ZBB approach, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is also gradually transferring Special Purpose Funds back to the departments for greater accountability and making the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) more transparent.
Due to the prudent management of public funds, the government has been able to provide P12 billion in funding for other key social and economic services that were not included in the 2011 General Appropriations Act, including:
P850 million for the salaries of 10,000 registered nurses hired and deployed to poor rural communities in the country; P4.2 billion to build 20,000 houses for the military and the police; and P423 million for the acquisition of the US Hamilton-class cutter, which will help strengthen the perimeter security within the Malampaya area
1.1.2. In an effort to address issues about the quality of road projects, the Road Board strengthened the identification and selection of projects funded by the Motor Vehicle User‘s Charge through the proper use of the Highway Development Management version 4 (HDM-4), a planning tool that prioritizes or selects projects based on actual needs and economic considerations. The Road Board also implemented standard unit costs nationwide that is 30% lower than previous cost estimates; and clearly defined the design and specification of its projects to make these conform to international standards, where previously, Programs of Work were not required. 1.1.3. The President directed the DBM to establish a comprehensive database of government manpower through an enhanced...