09 December 2014

An engineer’s opinion

By Adelle Chua

Engr. Erlinda Go
Seventy-seven year old Erlinda Go only heard about Citizen Participatory Audit on the morning of the workshop in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, when the president of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers - Palawan chapter asked her to attend it on his behalf.

Before the morning ended, she was completely sold. “Napakaganda ng programa (the program is very worthy),” she said. “I have very high expectations.”

Because of this, Mrs. Go will do more than report back to her president what went on in that initial meeting on November 20. Instead, she will try to be part of one of the audit teams, composed of auditors from the Commission on Audit and of representatives of civil society, which would look into whether farm-to-market roads in Palawan towns had been constructed according to specification.

Mrs. Go does not doubt that she could do her part sufficiently. After all, her credentials speak for themselves: She is both a chemical and civil engineer, with specialization in materials engineering. She has a masters degree in public administration and a doctorate in education. She is a member of good standing in PICE, is permanent representative to the bids and awards committees of various government agencies, and teaches public administration and education at the Holy Trinity University.

And based on her experience, FMRs do need to be looked into. Many of them are given to barangay officials who get their own personnel. Government engineers end up acting only as checkers and inspectors. Many, too, are not completed. “They projects are half-baked, or are of poor workmanship. They are sub-standard.”

She expects that the plans and other documentary information will be satisfactory. “Plans are always perfect.”

It is the implementation of these plans that must be watched.

Engr. Go with the other participants to the CSO-COA dialogue in Palawan.

Mrs. Go, who has five grown children -- all professionals and accomplished in their own fields -- shares the passion of the people behind the CPA: the Commission on Audit, citizen groups, and the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific. “I feel at home with these people who are interested in government, who are not dormant.”

“Ako ay natutuwa sa CPA dahil ako’y naniniwala na ang ating pera ay dapat gastahin nang maayos . Sayang na sayang ang pera kapag hindi nagastos ng tama (I like CPA because I believe that the people’s money should be spent the right way. It is such a great waste if money is not spent well).”

Most of all, Mrs. Go agrees that civil society representatives must be an essential part of the audit teams. “CSOs must always be involved -- and I mean real, independent CSOs, not just those allied with the local government,” she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment