/ 5 November 2021

SHOULD he get elected as president, Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo Lacson said he intends to rationalize the entire civil service system in order to achieve maximum public sector efficiency.

Lacson came across the idea during a virtual forum with members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. where he was asked which aspects of the existing government bureaucracy does he plan to refine or do away with completely.

“I think right now we have a bloated bureaucracy. Something must be done. And, you know, the civil service system in this country is not as good as the civil service system in other countries particularly in Europe,” Lacson replied.

He cited his observations in the event of a “hung parliament” under the Westminster system of government where state legislatures still function satisfactorily even in the absence of a ruling majority because of a “very strong civil service.”

Civil servants working in that system are independent and non-partisan, who can implement the decisions of an elected government.

They hold permanent appointments and can expect merit-based selection processes and continuity of employment when governments change.

“We need to modernize our civil service. We need to create a program to attract the best and talented recruits. Again, corruption is at the center of all these challenges and issues,” Lacson stressed.

One of Lacson’s campaign agenda is to instill bureaucratic discipline across the board in every public office including government-owned and -controlled corporations.

At the heart of his advocacies is the elimination of the culture of corruption, which he championed in some of the successful legislative measures he authored in the Senate, including Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 during the 13th Congress.

The Anti-Red Tape Law sought to promote the integrity, accountability, and proper management of public affairs and public property by way of establishing effective practices aimed at the prevention of graft and corruption in government.

Under the law, all government offices and agencies which provide frontline services to the public were mandated to regularly undertake time and motion studies, and improve their transaction systems and procedures to reduce bureaucratic red tape and processing time.