Latest Edition of the AOA Newsbulletin

The January 2009 edition of the AOA Newsbulletin is now available online at the AOA website. Get it now here. As always, comments and feedback welcome.

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February 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm 1 comment

Philippines Ombudsman’s “Lifestyle Check Hotline” Project Launched

To increase awareness and promote active participation of the public in the fight against graft and corruption, particularly in the conduct of lifestyle check investigation, the Field Investigation Office (FIO) has launched the OMB Lifestyle Check Hotline (OMB LSC Hotline) during the Office’s 3rd Integrity TV Show which was held last December 9, 2006 at the SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.        

The OMB LSC Hotline opens its line of communication to encourage the public to report incidents of corruption, especially of the ill-gotten or unexplained wealth of government officials and employees.

FIO investigators, particularly the Associate Graft Investigation Officers and the Legal Assistants serve as Hotline Agents on a daily rotation basis, from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon.

In preparation for the additional task, the investigators were oriented in a simulation/workshop and dry run on December 7, 2006 and February 5, 2007, respectively for the first two batches of agents. The orientation covered basic telephone etiquettes, the duties and responsibilities of the OMB LSC Hotline personnel, and the procedure for receiving various calls and complaints from the public.

The actual operation of the OMB LSC Hotline started last December 11, 2006.  Since then, numerous calls and complaints have been received by the Hotline agents.  Aside from requests for the conduct of lifestyle check investigation, complaints received include bribery/extortion and requests for public assistance, among others.  Follow-up calls were also received.  The OMB LSC Hotline numbers are 927-4102 and 927-2404 (telefax). 

And as the OMB LSC Hotline banner say “corruption is not a victimless crime”, so let us encourage the public to break their silence and report crimes of corruption. 

Posted by the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of the Philippines

November 21, 2007 at 6:03 am 9 comments

President of AOA’s Post: Innovations in Investigation Techniques

I mulled over several topics for this, my first post on the AOA blog. Given that there are several issues and challenges we face in the conduct of our daily work, some of which I dwelled upon in my paper at the 10th AOA Conference in Hanoi in April this year, I had to consider several options; in the end, I selected “Innovations in investigation techniques” because this is an area where I feel not enough discussion takes place.  Since the work of the Ombudsman is governed by a legal framework, its core function of carrying out investigations on complaints is also guided by defined procedures. By and large, these procedures tend to be fairly detailed and can have several rigidities. Although I’m certain that every Ombudsman tries to remove these rigidities and make the investigation process as flexible as possible to ensure speedy redress of grievances, this is not always easily achieved. What is more, our procedures can also often limit choices of investigative techniques. I believe that while we have introduced innovations in some areas, such as in the use of Information Technology to improve our outreach, when it comes to investigation, we continue to work with old techniques and instruments. Is this because we are following the principle of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it’ or have we just found a comfort zone of following established procedures? As institutions delivering Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services, we could benefit from innovations that have taken place in investigation techniques used by other ADR players such as Mediators and Conciliators. We know for example, that mediations are usually concluded in one day, yet this is not at the cost of gathering of facts and weighing of options for resolution of disputes. How can we incorporate the procedures followed by the Mediators, in our investigation techniques? In addition, we could also look at techniques used by the private sector Ombudsman, whose operations, one would imagine, are unbridled by detailed procedures defined under law. Of course, while integrating investigation techniques, procedures and instruments used by our more nimble counterparts, we have to consider the changes in work culture they will bring in tow, but innovate we must.

July 25, 2007 at 9:24 am 2 comments

Welcome to the AOA Blog!

This space is meant for use by the members of the Asian Ombudsman Association (www.aoa.org.pk). However, we welcome non-members and other stakeholders to participate in discussions, debates and other activities meant to promote the concept of Ombudsmanship in Asia. This blog will encourage and promote discussions, sharing of information and experiences and generally act as a platform for free and frequent interaction amongst AOA members and other stakeholders on issues such as Public Grievance Redress (PGR) mechanisms; Freedom of Information (FOI); administrative simplification; investigation techniques; use of IT to improve services; and legal and institutional frameworks of the Ombudsman in Asia.

July 3, 2007 at 5:33 am Leave a comment


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