SBMA pushes for ‘business with ethics’

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Companies and individuals aiming to do business with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will now have to abide by the agency’s policy of transparency in business, as the agency moves to institutionalize measures to promote ethics and eliminate graft and corruption.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said in a statement on Tuesday that his office will require Subic stakeholders like business locators, as well as suppliers and contractors, to sign the Integrity Pledge (IP), which is designed to prevent corrupt practices associated with government contracting.

Garcia said the business firms that transact business in Subic will have to sign the pledge “to remain in good standing with the SBMA.”

The IP is a formal and concrete expression of commitment by companies to abide by ethical business practices and to support a national campaign against corruption.  It is signed only by senior company officials like chief executives, managing directors or country representatives to set the tone from the top and oblige all members of the organization to also behave with integrity and carry on their responsibilities ethically.   

Under the program, Garcia said the SBMA will also encourage local government units that transact business with the SBMA to sign the pledge. These would include the eight neighboring local government units that annually receive millions in revenue shares from the SBMA.

 Garcia also said the program will cover all officials and employees of the SBMA to impress upon everybody that the SBMA is seriously committed to help break the cycle of corruption. 

The Subic official said the SBMA is implementing the IP program in line with its corporate governance initiative and in support of President Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan” program.

As SBMA head, Garcia signed the IP with Makati Business Club officials in July last year, joining a growing number of ethically conscious business leaders who aspire to create positive change in the country.

Garcia said upon signing the pledge, his office began implementing various measures to ensure transparency and imposed strict guidelines on receiving and giving of gifts, contributions, sponsorships and other tokens from or to all sectors. 

“As a matter of fact, the SBMA is already implementing appropriate internal systems and controls to prevent, detect and respond to any unethical conduct by our personnel, ensure good governance, and institutionalize the values of integrity and accountability in our business transactions,” Garcia also said in the statement.

He added that the SBMA has been eradicating red tape, which is a major source of corruption, by continuous simplification of processes to expedite transactions in accordance with Republic Act 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Because of this the SBMA has received certification for ISO 9001:2008, which refers to quality management system that ensures consistent and good quality products and services, Garcia pointed out.

Garcia also said his office will create a monitoring team to facilitate the implementation of the IP program and document the success of the agency’s transparency initiatives.

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Henry Empeño

Henry E. Empeño took up A.B. Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, but plunged headlong into actual newspaper work without graduating from college.
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