Sen. Ralph G. Recto has issued a call asking the government to open a Facebook account for every government infrastructure project to allow the public to track its progress and monitor its implementation.
“If there’s a proposed bridge in a town, then the field office of the DPWH can open an ‘FB Group on the Construction of Juan de la Cruz Bridge,’ adding there details such as the cost, timetable, name of contractor, and approved budget ceiling,” he said.
And with most mobile phones nowadays functioning as cameras too, it will be easy to upload pictures showing construction progress on the FB group account. “If there’s no progress, then the photos would capture it as well,” he added.
“The beauty with Facebook is that if there’s a post saying it is proceeding as scheduled, then you can ‘like’ it. If there’s a photo showing no work has been done, then you can share it. Either way, you can comment to give your praise or displeasure. Pwede ka sumama sa ‘unlikers’,” Recto explained.
With government spending billions of pesos annually to monitor and evaluate taxpayer-funded projects, “there’s one untapped, free and effective tracking tool, and that’s Facebook.”
“Ang daming consultants sa monitoring. Mistulang United Nations ang mga bansang may grants dito. Meron rin namang open source for project monitoring,” Recto said.
A Facebook account, he said, is also “an app against underspending.”
“Kung nasa approved national budget na ang isang proyekto, pwede nang buksan ng FB account. The meter must run the moment it makes it to approved the General Appropriations Act. In clocking progress, that should be zero hour,” Recto said.
He said bringing monitoring online, though a popular social site, would allow more people to be involved “unlike the traditional methods of divulging project details.”
“Kung yung usual karatula lang yan or tarpaulin sa project site mismo, yung dumadaan lang ang nakakakita. Paano kung isang irrigation reservoir sa bundok na unggoy lang ang nakatira? Meron bang makakabasa ng billboard doon?” he asked.
In his Budget Message for 2016, President Aquino said government’s infrastructure budget will reach P766.5 billion next year, or equivalent to 5 percent of the GDP.
The number of projects will run into hundreds of thousands, Recto said.
On classrooms alone, government is planning build 43,000 next year. On health facilities, almost 12,000 barangay health stations, town clinics, hospital will be built, renovated or supplied with equipment.
He said Facebook will also be an effective tool in measuring the delivery of non-infrastructure projects, like school and hospital equipment.
“Para doon sa hindi gagamitan ng semento, FB is the keyhole through which we can peep if they’re being done right and on time. Kung farm tractors at ibang farm equipment, halimbawa, pwedeng mag-open ng isang account per region at doon i-post ang updates,” Recto said.