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Jun 25th
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Conceptual Framework of Approach for Ridding Sorsogon and the Philippines of Graft and Corruption

By Lolo Bobby Mercado-Reyes

Bacon-Sorsogon (Bac-Sor) City, Philippines, and West Covina, California


T he following e-mail was sent to an e-forum where the author participates. The postings in the e-forum appear also in three, namely the Botomo, the NaFFAA-forum and Cepol (Cebu politics). The original thread was called: “Re: Graft and Corruption – Ano ang Magawa Natin?”


Here is a reproduction of Lolo Bobby’s input to the online discussion as addressed to “Dear Fellow Overseas Filipinos and Friends of the Philippines:”



1.0    For too-many long years now, we, Overseas Filipinos (OF) and Overseas-Filipino workers (OFW), have been talking online on how to rid our homeland's government and even the private sector (NGOs and even church-based entities) of graft and corruption (G&C). But nothing really substantial has happened. We, Overseas-Filipino writers, have written so many articles on the how to, when, where and why, fight G&C but also to no avail.


2.0    Why the failure of the OF/OFW-led fight against G&C?


2.1    Because many want to change the entire nation overnight. It is impossible to change the entire national situation in just one election cycle or even in one decade (three election cycles). We have to change our own hometowns, if not home provinces first. Because G&C and politics are all local issues. The national government cannot be crooked if the local-government units (LGU) are fundamentally honest.


2.2    To achieve the changes, we must "reinvent" also the system. Like the system of paying salaries to public servants; decent wages must be paid that will enable public servants to live comfortably, so that they will not be tempted to receive bribes.


3.0    A Simple Solution.


3.1    We must select a single province as a pilot area to demonstrate clean-and-honest governance. It is like selecting a single beachhead (like Normandy in France and Leyte in PHP during WWII) where our OF/OFW "Liberation Army" will land and concentrate all its peaceful fire-power, human and financial resources and what not to the campaign.


3.1.1           My friends and I have selected the Province of Sorsogon (where I come from), as it is a small province (800,000 population, two congressional districts, 15 towns, including Bacon, and one city); it is one of the poorest provinces but it is strategically located (southern end of Luzon and jumping-off point to Samar and the Visayan islands). We will attract national attention and cooperation if we can perform an Economic Miracle in less-than three years by eliminating G&C in our pilot province, as it is estimated that more-than 70% of the provincial and municipal budgets and national-government assistance (pork barrel, etc.) are all wasted, if not pocketed by some politicians and their cronies.


3.1.2           My clan is the original Nacionalista Party family in Sorsogon and we and our in-laws have produced three governors, two congressmen, several mayors and other LGU elected officials, aside from a constitutional-convention delegate and the first Sorsoganon Cabinet member and several undersecretaries. None of my political elders has been tainted with any G&C practice or indictment.


3.2    We will lead a movement called the "ReVOTElution of Hope," with the vow of turning a different EDSA Revolution; EDSA shall become the acronym for "Economic Development and Social Advancement." The bottom line is to make not only the government but also the economy of the people, by the people and for the people.


3.2.1           With an OF/OFW-led provincial government, we will also undertake three other revolutions: Green, Blue (blue-water) and Wireless. We have written so many articles on our socioeconomic platforms as part of a 25-year development program, as found in the Revotelution Section ( of our website, the


3.2.2           There are other specific project descriptions of the "ReVOTElution of Hope" as found in a series of articles, as may be accessed in this fifth part:


3.2.3           But our ReVOTElution is not all parochial or local in scope, as our Sorsogon experiment is just part of a broader BLeSSED (Bicol, Leyte, Samar and Sorsogon Economic-Development) Program. This means that after we establish the beachhead in Sorsogon on July 1, 2019 (new revised target date), we slowly turn to the twin regions (V and VIII), to expand our market and develop regional projects.


3.2.4           All the socioeconomic projects, plans and programs will be treated like items in a conveyor-belt assembly plant. This means that when all the favorable factors and requirements are in place, long-term projects can become medium-term programs and medium-term goals can become short-term endeavors, if not immediate gains.


4.0    Specific Programs to Guarantee that from Day One (June 30, 2019), our OF/OFW-run organization will turn Sorsogon Province into an honest-and-clean operator of the ATIC Principles. (ATIC, as I coined in 2000 means "accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility".)


4.1    All financial transactions of the provincial government (bank accounts, contracts, checks issued by the Provincial Treasurer as countersigned by the Office of the Governor) will be available online; all financial documents such as contracts for roads, bridges, etc., and all provincial treasury warrants will be scanned and posted in the provincial website.


4.2    All pending and past contracts will be subjected to forensic audit by the Provincial Auditor, as may be aided by Filipino and Overseas-Filipino CPAs and private auditors.


4.2.1           There should not be any problem with any contract entered into by the OF/OFW-led provincial Administration, as the contract process will follow the ATIC principles and published online, and subjected also to forensic audit.


4.3    All provincial, municipal and city employees will be invited to join a cooperative that will manage at least one-fourth of the 4,000 hectares of abandoned or idle fish ponds in Sorsogon Province, with the profits shared by them. Employees of the national government -- from teachers to the police -- will be invited to join the said cooperative.


4.3.1           In nine months or less, the incomes from these aqua-culture operations are projected to double the take-home pay of the co-op members. In short, all public servants and the people that they are serving will be turned to stakeholders and not mere citizens or residents of the province, with the new Administration answering the people's question: "What's in it for me and for my province?"


4.3.2           The co-op of the public servants and the other co-ops organized for fishermen, farmers, laborers, students and even senior-citizens will be led into doing constructive projects – from reforestation, vegetable-and-other-cash-crop growing, trading, etc., etc., so that the average income of an ordinary family that participates in our economic program is tripled within the first 18 months of our OF/OFW-led provincial Administration. But this guarantee will be applied only to those who will gladly work and participate freely, as all the economic enterprises will be for the benefit of a Coalition of the Willing. But no stakeholder who is willing to work will be left behind.


4.3.3           All the public and private employees in the province and all the self-employed and members of the producers' or consumers' co-op will be invited to join a provincial credit union, which will also manage a 401-K plan for all of the gainfully employed. How the provincial government will generate its counterpart in the 401-K plan will be discussed in a separate document but it will all come from its share of tourism-oriented development projects (from operating a BOT-formatted international airport, cultural-and-gaming resorts, etc.), as may be financed by a consortium of OF, OFW and foreign and/or domestic investors.


4.3.4           As may be permitted by national laws, as found in the Code of Local Governments and other applicable regulations, all the provincial-government employees and the participating LGU employees or officials will be voluntarily sworn in as deputies of the Provincial Sheriff, which will be run like the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office. All accusations against any public employee (as full-time or part-time employee of the Provincial Sheriff's Office) will be dealt with in a court martial, with a jury system deciding the case in 60 to 90 days, as described in this article,


4.4    Illegal gambling such as jueteng, sakla and other forms of illegal betting will cease by Day One (June 30, 2019) of our Administration.


4.4.1           As alternatives to some people's "addiction" to gambling, our Administration will support all the churches (on rotation basis on the participating sects) hold daily bingo games coupled with weekly, if not, daily, raffles of cash prizes. A medical program, however, will be launched to combat addiction to gambling and other vices such as illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other social evils.


4.4.2           All the planned cultural-and-gaming resorts will accept only foreign currency to gamble in their casinos, thereby stressing that the provincial government is not pushing gambling to its stakeholders and the public in general.


5.0    Incentives to Public Servants and Private Employees to Remain Honest and Scandal-free.


5.1    The new OF/OFW-led Provincial Government will guarantee to its stakeholders (read, citizens, residents and workers in the province) access to affordable housing, basic preventive care in its HMO operations, student-loan funds and other benefits that are feasible and sound from the economic viewpoints and as permitted by national and provincial laws or regulations.


5.1.1           All of these benefits will be forfeited by any public servant or private employee found guilty of participating in G&C schemes and their 401-K account being subjected to repaying any damages that may be determined by a court of law or the jury of the court-martial system.


5.2    The biggest incentive to honest and ably-performing government is best guaranteed by very-honest provincial-and-municipal government employees led by an extremely-honest governor, who will govern to make a long-lasting legacy and not make money at the expense of the public.


Unless you have better ideas, it is suggested that readers of this e-mail join the "ReVOTElution of Hope" by sending a private e-mail (at to its prime mover. We have of course to improve this conceptual framework of approach and the socioeconomic plans, so as to make them more practical and enforceable within the bounds of Philippine law and the laws of the countries where the OF and the OFW participants are domiciled or working. UNQUOTE. # # #

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