Public Works Sec. Mark Villar is using satellites to monitor the progress of construction projects, among many practical technologies to catch crooks and remove the stigma of corruption that has long been attached to the agency.
Villar has the trust of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had blamed those on the ground for misdeeds in the DPWH. The son of billionaire couple Manny and Cynthia Villar would not steal from public coffers, the President said.
"Mahirap nang dayain 'yung mga projects," Public Works Sec. Mark Villar on Thursday told journalists in a Summit Sandwich Session. All the information is kept in his tablet computer.
According to Villar, it was only during this term that the DPWH was able to implement a computerized monitoring system that aids in project implementation and transparency.
"Merong geotagging, which is required for all our projects. The progress is monitored and confirmed via satellite, that's using technology. Even the disbursement of funds, it's monitored by the system," he explained.
"Mano-mano 'yung sistema dati," he said, calling it a tedious process that involved contacting several officials and acquiring permits before a full status report could be made. Now, figures are fetched instantly.
The numbers manifest as bite-sized updates on the department's Facebook page, which is usually filled with photos, drone shots, and videos of projects.
"It's always good for people to see where the taxpayer, or where their money is going. It builds transparency. It's part of our anti-corruption program," he said.
"We can monitor all our projects, which is basically picture-taking confirmed with satellite location. We also require, when applicable, drone footage for major projects so that they can review. The progress can be seen," he added.
Disciplining employees internally is also possible since the system detects discrepancies.
"We've blacklisted more contractors in any other past years. Almost 20 contractors already," he added. Late last year, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the public against fake bidders and lower-level employees with shifty hands.