Philippine Daily Inquirer 2-20-2010
The new SWS corruption surveys
Yesterday, February 19th, was the first public presentation of the 2009 round of SWS surveys of Filipino
managers in five major business locations on the subject of corruption. Here is my overview: # The annual proportion of managers
seeing "a lot" of corruption in the public sector has been steady at two-thirds since 2005. Almost all of them see it happening
in the national level; progressively fewer see it at the provincial, city and barangay levels. The median reported provision
for bribery in a government contract continues to be 20 percent. The annual proportion seeing "a lot" of corruption in the
private sector, also flat since 2005, has been at one-fourth. The median reported provision for bribery in a private contract
continues to be 10 percent. # The proportion of managers whose companies were solicited for a bribe by someone in government
in the past year was 61 percent – below the 2008 peak of 70 percent, but still the second highest rate since 2005. #
On the other hand, half of the managers say there has been improvement in the transparency of the process of bidding for a
government contract. # Managers’ assessments of government sincerity in fighting corruption depend on the agency the
survey asks about; here I list the agencies from highest to lowest. The Supreme Court, Social Security System, Department
of Trade and Industry, Department of Health and city governments have kept their grades of "good" (defined by SWS as Net Sincerity
of +30 to +49). Trial courts and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have risen to "moderate" (+10 to +29) in 2009 from "neutral"
(-9 to +9) in 2008.
Agencies graded "neutral" in 2009 are the Sandiganbayan, Commission on Audit (down from "moderate"
in 2008), Department of Education, Senate, Department of Finance ("moderate" in 2008), Department of Justice (up The new SWS corruption surveys Page
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Climate, PDI 10-08 Feb 20 The new SWS corruption surveys
from "poor", or within -10 to -29, in 2007-2008), Commission on Elections (up from "poor"
in 2008 and from "bad", or within -30 to -49, in 2007), and the Ombudsman. Agencies graded "poor" in 2009 are the Department
of Budget and Management (down from "neutral"), Philippine National Police, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior
and Local Government, and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (up from "bad" in 2008). Agencies graded "bad" in
2009 are the Department of Transportation and Communications (formerly "poor"), Presidential Anti-Graft Commission ("poor"
in 2008, "neutral" in 2007), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (formerly "poor"), House of Representatives,
Office of the President ("poor" in 2008, "neutral" in 2007), and Land Transportation Office. The agencies graded "very bad"
(-50 or worse) in 2009 are, as in earlier years, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Public Works and Highways,
and Bureau of Customs. # For the first time, the surveys asked about local government procedures. Most managers call these
procedures transparent. At least half say that renewing local permits is easier now than three years ago. Over two-thirds
say they don’t use intermediaries to facilitate renewals. # Two-fifths of the managers say that public access to information
has improved over the past five years. Three-fourths support passage of a strong law on the right to information. # Trends
in following honest business practices are flat, even though still unsatisfactory: (a) only one-fifth say that all companies
in their sector pay taxes honestly; (b) only one-fifth say they all keep only one set of books; (c) only one-third say they
all issue receipts for all revenues; (d) only one-third have clear rules on giving gifts to government officials; (e) less
than half say they all demand receipts for all expenses; and (f) only two-thirds have a written code of ethics. The new SWS corruption surveys Page
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Feb 20 The new SWS corruption surveys
# The 2009 survey has a special section on contributions to election campaigns. Compared to
2004, when similar questions were asked, now the contributors from business appear fewer, the amounts contributed appear smaller,
and more of the contributions are voluntary rather than solicited. In choosing a candidate for President, the top concerns
of both managers and the general public are (1) "fighting corruption" and (2) "creating jobs." For managers, next comes "promoting
a good business environment". For the general public, however, next is "eradicating poverty." (This uses the general SWS survey
on voters’ priorities of December 5-10, 2009.) # Finally, what about the matter most critical to our business association
collaborators: the willingness of managers to put their money where their mouths are. The SWS surveys have regularly asked,
if there could be a program capable of cutting corruption by half within 10 years, how much of their net income would the
company contribute to it? In 2009 the median answer is back to the 5 percent of 2005 and 2006, after having slumped to 2 percent
in 2007 and 3 percent in 2008. This is encouraging. I hope it leads to a revival of the business sector’s Coalition
on Corruption. * * * The new SWS surveys of enterprises were done over November 3 to December 5, 2009 on a total of 550 companies,
consisting of 200 in Metro Manila, 100 in Metro Cebu, 100 in Metro Davao, 75 in Cagayan de Oro-Iligan, and 75 in Cavite-Laguna-Batangas,
randomly drawn from lists furnished by collaborating local business associations. They are the ninth in a series that began
in 2000, sponsored by The Asia Foundation (TAF), meant for publication.
The survey report is available from publication editor Leo Laroza, at email@example.com. Views expressed in it are those of SWS alone, and should not be attributed to TAF.
PowerPoint Presentation on results of a detailed examination of the various corruption surveys as of 2006
Social Weather Stations
4th most corrupt country in Southeast Asia—poll
Philippines is ranked as the fourth most corrupt country in Southeast Asia out of 16 surveyed by over 2,000 expatriate businessmen,
according to an annual poll.
In a report released Tuesday, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said
the Philippines scored 8.06 on a scale of 0 to 10 – with zero as the best possible score, indicating the lowest level
of corruption among politicians and civil servants.
Indonesia is the most corrupt in Southeast Asia, at 9.27, with Cambodia, 9.10 and
Vietnam, 8.07 ranked second and third respectively, according to PERC.
Singapore remains as the least corrupt country in Southeast Asia with a score of 1.42,
followed by Australia with 2.28 and Hong Kong with 2.67, PERC said.
The 16 countries surveyed from the least corrupt to the most corrupt are:
1. Singapore, 1.42
2. Australia, 2.28
3. Hong Kong, 2.67
United States, 3.42
5. Japan, 3.49
6. Macau, 4.96
7. South Korea, 5.98
8. Taiwan, 6.28
9. Malaysia, 6.47
11. India, 7.18
12. Thailand, 7.60
13. Philippines, 8.06
14. Vietnam, 8.07
15. Cambodia, 9.10
By Ky D. Johnson
On February 19, the results of the ninth Enterprise Survey on Corruption in the Philippines were released to
the public. As campaigning heats up in the Philippines for national elections in May, a particular finding is worth pointing out: 75 percent of business managers
feel that “fighting corruption” is an important concern in choosing a presidential candidate.
For nearly a decade, the Enterprise Survey on Corruption has provided a unique snapshot of the Filipino business
sector’s perspectives on corruption and good governance. Since 2000, The Asia Foundation has partnered with Social Weather Stations, the Philippines’ foremost non-profit, nongovernment data generation organization, to conduct a series of surveys to
examine the attitudes and actual experiences of businesses with regard to public and private sector corruption.
This data helps the Filipino public track businesspeople’s perceptions of corruption, the perceived sincerity
of government agencies in fighting corruption, and the actual business practices of the private sector. The surveys have proven
to be especially important tools in raising consciousness about the costs of corruption, pointing out the need for critical
reforms, and measuring the effectiveness of counter-corruption efforts. The results have also served as important indicators
used by development organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, and civil society to measure progress in the
fight against corruption.
In contrast to most international corruption indices, such as the most recent report by the Hong Kong-based
Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. (PERC), which often survey expatriate managers or the broader general public, the Enterprise Survey focuses specifically
on Filipino business managers operating in the Philippines. The survey interviews are conducted in-person and face-to-face
with business managers. This round covered 550 managers from five different areas of the Philippines. The responses are based
on personal experience, and therefore the data are a fairly accurate proxy for actual levels of corruption. Moreover, since
many of the respondents are sampled from year to year, the responses allow for useful comparisons over time.
Among the notable findings for 2009 were:
- 75% of business managers feel that “fighting corruption” is an important concern in choosing a presidential
- 78% of business managers agree that passage of a law on the right to information will help to reduce corruption.
- 19% of managers report that companies in their line of business always pay taxes honestly, and 21% report that companies
in their line of business keep only one set of accounting books (both figures are nearly unchanged in the past five years).
- A majority indicated that procedures at city/municipal government offices are understandable and transparent, especially
for business permits and licensing.
The 2009 Enterprise Survey on Corruption was first presented in Metro Manila and will be subsequently presented in Cebu
and Davao. The presentation was hosted by the Asian Institute of Management -Hills Governance Center (AIM-HGC) and also featured a presentation by Professor Michael Johnston of Colgate University who spoke on Syndromes of Corruption and the fight against corruption. Download the Social Weather Stations presentation or download the full results of the 2009 survey.
The fourth most corrupt nation...the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy economic think tank in a survey
of potential investors in Asia listed Indonesia as the most corrupt nation; Cambodia second; Vietnam third; and the Philippines