Public Works Secretary Mark Villar on Tuesday ordered the formation of a task force to probe the alleged anomalies within the agency.

In the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Order No. 101, Villar said the task force was formed “in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s stringent policy against the commission of graft and corrupt practices by government officials and/or employees.”

Villar also wanted the allegations of widespread corruption in DPWH addressed, to “boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the department in exercising its mandate of providing quality infrastructure to the Filipino people.”

The task force will be chaired by Public Works Asst. Secretary Mel John Verzosa, with Gliricidia Tumaliuan-Ali as the vice chairperson and Michael Villafranca, Andro Santiago and Ken Edward Sta. Rita as members.

According to the department order, the task force will investigate anomalies based on “valid complaints.”

It will then forward recommendations including actions to take concerning those found guilty to Villar.

In a virtual briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque urged the public to give the DPWH task force a chance.

“Siguro po pangunang hakbang lang iyan na ginawa ng DPWH para nga i-address iyong problema ng korapsiyon na nilabas ng ating Presidente, so pagbigyan naman po natin sila ‘no. Let’s give them a chance dahil sa aking pagkakaalam eh talagang this is one of the rare moments na ina-address natin ang korapsiyon diyan sa DPWH na ang sabi nga ni Presidente ay lantaran at parang systemic,” he said.

Duterte on Monday lashed out against corruption within the DPWH but cleared Secretary Mark Villar, saying the anomalies were caused by officials on the ground.

“Si Secretary Villar, mayaman. Si Secretary Villar, maraming pera ‘yan. Hindi niya kailangan mangurakot. Ang problema sa baba, malakas pa rin hanggang ngayon,” Duterte said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro