"We believe that you can unleash the human potential in a country like the Philippines
by tearing down the barriers to economic growth and fighting corruption, which is like a cancer in the economy and society."
Extract from Remarks of His Excellency BENIGNO S.
AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, At the Millennium Challenge Corporation
Compact Signing Ceremony, September 23, 2010
"Each of the three (3) projects in the Compact has integrated several key components to combat
The Revenue Administration Reform Project or RARP (US$54.3 million) directly targets improvements in
governance or “internal integrity” within the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (“Linking Arms Against Poverty”)-Comprehensive and Integrated
Delivery of Social Services or Kalahi-CIDSS (US$120 million) is designed to ensure that resources are provided to
communities directly where they are needed most, and enforces transparency and accountability for local development investments.
The Secondary National Roads Project (222 kilometer road segment in Samar/Eastern Samar; US$214.4 million)
introduces a number of checks on construction standards and road contractors.
These are the Compact projects that, in the words of MCC executives, demonstrates my country’s
“high capacity” as MCC partner.
As I conveyed during my teleconference with Mr. Yohannes last August 9, we will do our part
to use this grant wisely.
We will continue the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) or “lifestyle checks”
We will ensure that the Policy Improvement Process (PIP) Plan of Action will be implemented,
in parallel with the Compact projects, to effectively address performance issues such as Control of Corruption (COC). We are
currently refining our indicators for the Performance Governance System (PGS) which was already introduced in six (6) national
government agencies (education, health, public works, transportation, internal revenue and the police)."
Extract from the Remarks of His Excellency Benigno
S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, At the Council on Foreign Relations, September
"I was put into office by the people, who believed in my idea that corruption is the root of
poverty; that an end to corruption would mean an end to poverty. My government is ready to deliver on the second part of this
pledge. We will channel any gains into the people—through social services like education, health, and conditional cash
transfers that serve both as life-vests for the poorest of the poor, and incentives to ensure that they can move forward in
life by getting educated and staying healthy. My government’s mantra: to guarantee a more equitable distribution of
our nation’s resources.
This can only be achieved through stronger economic growth. Investments are needed in social
services, but they are also necessary in infrastructure, utilities, and job-generating enterprises.
Given the scarce resources that we have, attracting foreign capital has become a vital component
of my anti-poverty program. And I am here today to tell you that my government is doing what it takes to create a more investor-friendly
Part of my mandate is to curb corruption and streamline a cumbersome, graft-ridden bureacracy;
to put resources where they will provide the clearest results; and to untangle a complicated regulatory environment.
The mission I have set out for myself is to lead by example, rally our people, and unite them
behind a common sense of purpose. It is imperative for us to work hand-in-glove and persevere in creating a just society for
I have laid out the tenets that will mark the new Philippines: good governance, employment
generation, quality education, improved public health, and a home for every family, within safe communities.
Even as we exert our best to create jobs at home, the immediate reality is that many
of my compatriots continue to seek greener pastures abroad. This make them vulnerable to human traffickers and illegal recruiters.
We are thus doubling our efforts to bring the full force of the law against those who prey on the vulnerable.
We have committed to restore integrity in leadership and governance. We will battle corruption,
cut red tape and exact the highest standards of performance from our bureaucracy.
The government must earn the full trust and confidence of its citizens. This trust and
confidence is the motive force that would get them actively involved in building our nation. By empowering the people
and nurturing democratic participation, we can bring about real reforms.
Ladies and gentlemen, I came here to declare that the Philippines is open for business under
Extract from speech byHis Excellency BENIGNO
S. AQUINO III at The Citibank Economic Conference, September 22, 2010
"I was elected to office on the promise to fight corruption and do better for the poor. I recognize
that in order to do that the engines of commerce must be running at full throttle. Robust economic growth, fueled by the private
sector, combined with thoughtful government spending on social services is the solution over the long term.
Let me be crystal clear: to achieve our social goals, it is imperative that we in the Philippines
create a climate for private enterprise to profit and thrive. And this is what we have begun to undertake.
Earlier, our Secretary of Trade Gregory Domingo and Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima presented
our economic and fiscal agenda, and outlined some of of the reforms we are putting on the table. These include, but are not
limited to simplifying the process of establishing a business, improving infrastructure, and relaxing regulations on air travel
to and from the country.
Allow me to illustrate what we are doing with two specific examples. The P1.645 trillion national
budget that we proposed for 2011 puts in place the zero-budgeting scheme, which required a review of existing programs, termination
of programs that no longer fulfill their intended outcomes, and a reduction in the funding for programs that needed to be
redesigned. We have tightened restrictions on congressional pork barrel and reduced, if not removed, many opportunities for
wasteful, and possibly corrupt spending practices. This has not necessarily endeared me with my former colleagues, but it
has allowed us to increase spending on education, healthcare, and much needed emergency cash subsidies for the poorest of
the poor, at the same time reducing our budget deficit as a proportion of GDP.
This kind of action is not dramatic enough to make it to the evening news, but I think you
can appreciate how significant an investment of political capital it can be.
Now let me point you to an example that regularly makes the headlines back home. Our Bureau
of Internal Revenue has breathed new life into its Run After Tax Evaders program and has already filed its 7th
tax evasion case in just two months in an effort to plug revenue leaks. This early, the prospect of public humiliation and
jail time has led to an improvement in our tax collection efforts."
A REPORT by the Transparency International reveals that corruption has greatly held back efforts towards achieving the
Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Where there are more corrupt practices, there is less progress on education (MDG2), maternal
health (MDG5), and access to clean water (MDG7). In the 2009 Corruption Perception Index, the Philippines ranked 139th out
of 180 countries. The survey was topped by New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore as the countries with the least corruption.
Our neighbors Thailand (84th), Indonesia (111th), and Malaysia (56th) have overtaken us. In the region, we only bested Timor-Leste
(146th), Cambodia (158th), and Myanmar (178th). The fight against corruption is a continuous struggle and is not limited by
borders or cultures. That is the rationale behind the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC).
As the only Asian representative in GOPAC's Executive Board, I took the lead in organizing the regional chapter, the Southeast
Asian Parliamentarians against Corruption (SEAPAC) in 2005. By linking with other parliaments, we build a strategy to combat
corruption on an international level, while making a pact to fight corruption in each of our own governments and societies.
Strengthening institutions and enhancing governance mechanisms must be hallmark of every democratic system. This is where
we, as parliamentarians, have the best chance to contribute. Parliamentarians are in the best position to ensure institutional
integrity. We achieve this by crafting effective sanction policies through the passage of laws. In this sense we plot, not
just track, our national anti-corruption agendas. Of course, we should also go beyond merely crafting legislation. Our capacity
to ensure institutional integrity requires that we monitor the implementation of these laws. This coming Thursday, September
30, GOPAC's Task Force on the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) will hold a two-day meeting in Manila. At the same
time, SEAPAC will hold its Regional Meeting and discuss a plan of action for anti-corruption in the region. This is very much
in tune with the Aquino administration's current flagship program of anti-corruption. High on the agenda is equipping lawmakers
with tools to implement the UNCAC. The UNCAC, which the Philippines ratified in 2006, is the first international legally binding
anti-corruption tool which obliges countries to implement changes in laws and institutions. Corruption is a real obstacle
to development and directly affects our people. On the other hand, putting in place anti-corruption and good governance mechanisms
- like transparency, accountability, and integrity - have huge payoffs. Elimintating corruption through oversight institutions
and legal frameworks - and ensuring their effective enforcement - will aid economic growth and bring back public trust in
institutions. - Senator Edgardo Angara
EDITORIAL - Beyond naming names
Philstar.com - Wednesday, September 22
Dared to name names, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz did just that yesterday, identifying to the Senate several
individuals tagged by his informants as recipients of jueteng payoffs. Cruz’s list included a cousin of President Aquino
and former national police chief Jesus Verzosa. Most of those named were local government executives, and everyone denied
Since the accusations were hurled by an archbishop, in a rare appearance before the Senate, the public is likely
to believe the story; those implicated are deemed guilty until they can prove their innocence. But beyond condemnation in
the court of public opinion, what comes next? Similar accusations in the past have led to a dead end.
Such accusations can make public officials think twice before accepting jueteng payoffs. But the accusations could
also prompt some jueteng lords to increase their bribes to authorities as well as their “contributions” to other
princes of the Church with no scruples about funding sources. The Catholic Church has admitted that some of its shepherds
are recipients of jueteng largesse.
Thinking twice does not necessarily mean stopping the acceptance of payoffs. Over the years there have been periodic
pauses in jueteng operations nationwide, usually when a new interior secretary or national police chief assumes office. But
the illegal numbers game is so popular that operations always resume eventually.
Jueteng profits are so enormous the operators not only can afford to buy protection at every step of the criminal
justice system but even become the officials tasked to stop illegal gambling. Several jueteng lords have successfully laundered
their dirty money for political campaigns and won elective office. How can these officials be expected to crack down on their
own lucrative family enterprises?
Neither the threat of arrest by the state nor the soul’s eternal damnation as threatened by the Church can
stop Filipinos from gambling. This reality has prompted calls in recent years to legalize jueteng. Until this happens, however,
authorities cannot abdicate their duty to conduct a sustained campaign against illegal gambling. Equally important, authorities
must stop the corruption that is almost always bred by an illegal but popular activity.
If this task proves too difficult, the state should conduct lifestyle checks, starting with the most notorious
jueteng operators, and then go after them for tax evasion and money laundering. Ill-gotten gains cannot all fit under the
mattress and must be seized. Cripple the fat cat financiers and you cripple the illegal game. - (Philstar News Service,
STATE-RUN Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said the
country loses about half a percentage of its economic output a year because of corruption. In a study titled, “Corruption
and Development, Revisited,” Jenny Balboa and Shinji Takenaka said the cost of corruption in the Philippines is estimated
at 0.5 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) per year, and at 5 percent of total investment.
GDP is the
amount of final goods and services produced in the country.
The authors said their projection is “conservative”
since it does not factor in other unobservable factors, and the reverse causality from rapid growth to corruption.
and corruption is considered to be one of the biggest threats to development,” the study said.
The authors said
various efforts to combat this social ill have been explored, but the problem persists.
The study said private sector
growth, particularly of small and medium enterprises, is also affected by corruption, taking the form of rigid regulations
that increases tax burden and transaction costs for new entrants.
“The level of corruption in the Philippines,
for instance, failed to show significant improvement despite decades-long struggle to curb corruption through various laws
and policies. Deeply entrenched personalistic politics is an obstacle to reform efforts,” the study said.
noted that the success of anti-corruption efforts largely rest on political will and commitment of stakeholders to uphold
Earlier, Transparency International reported that the Philippines ranked 141st out of 179 countries in its
Corruption Perceptions Index for 2008.
Former congressman Satur Ocampo...lamented that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan
anti-graft court had failed the Filipino people in the fight to eliminate if not reduce corruption in public office...both
instituions suffered from a backlog of cases, and in the case of the Sandiganbayan, it takes an average of seven years, or
in some cases, 10 years, before the anti-graft court could decide on cases of paramount significance to the public. "Both
the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan were overloaded with cases, including carry over cases. From 2001 to May 2006, the office
of the Ombudsman received 78,700 criminal and administrative cases. While the office registered a high percentage of cases
disposed, 65.4 percent of these cases had been dismissed"...during the same period, the Sandiganbayan entertained a total
of 7,324 cases, and of this total, only 45 cases or less than 1 percent resulted in conviction, 51 cases led to acquittal,
1,700 were dismissed, 1,413 or 19.3% were archived and 3,909 or 53.4 percent were still pending for resolution as of 2006.
In a period of 27 years...the highest elective officials charged and convicted were two provincial
governors, and small number of lower state officials that include 23 municipal and city mayors...of those 23 mayors, 18 were
charged in 1979-2000 and found guilty in 2006. "All together, including one vice governor and one vice mayor, the total of
elective officials convicted of grant and corruption, and for malversation, estafa, bribery and theft was 27 in 27 years"...the
media exposing these cases of high level crime of corruption, like political activists, also suffered harassment and other
forms of retaliation from the people and organizations they exposed for raiding public coffers...journalists engaged in investigative
journalism with corruption as their subjects face libel cass, and worse, extrajudicial killings.
...while the Commission on Audit (COA), which is another constitutional body that could help in curbing
corruption in public office is helpful in many congressional inquiries, the same office has not been of maximum help in checking
corruption in the government...the summary of COA official duty is merely to counter-check, and compare if the government
transactions proceeded to the flow and forms prescribed under the law.
"The system thus provides opportunities for unscrupolous government officials to engage in anomalous
transactions but make it appear such transactions comply with the prescribed "flows and forms" like the controversial P 728-million
fertilizer fund scam in 2004, the most detailed investigative piece on corruption under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration"...
the weaknesses of the judicial system in fighting corruption is deep rooted in the system and it is important the public realize
that the judiciary's power to correct corruption is passive...
Swimming in rice: Alleged hefty commissions in rice importation and poor insight have left
thousands of metric tons of rice rotting in NFA warehouses, unfortunately at the expense of taxpayers' money. - JES AZNAR
During his first State of the Nation Address...President
Benigno Aquino III spoke about the National Food Authority (NFA), the state-owned grains agency...How, Aquino wondered,
could the NFA have incurred billions in debts and in effect wasted taxpayers’ money? Furthermore, Aquino asked why the
NFA had to import so much rice or way beyond the country’s needs?
The answer is not so simple. The problem stems from poor economics
and corruption in the system...if a foreign rice supplier sells rice to the Philippines, they can connive with NFA officials
by shipping, say, lower quality rice or different from what was declared on paper. On paper, the supplier can declare that
it has exported 1 million metric tons of rice that includes broken grain of 10 percent. In rice shipments, broken grain is
usually included but is considered of inferior quality compared to the whole grain. In reality, however, the shipment of 1
million metric tons may include broken grain of up to 40 per cent. The seller will then give officials of the NFA “commissions”
for the “savings” earned from such an arrangement, the rice trader told PPTRP.
Corruption is allegedly so rampant and innate in the system
that even officials of the Bureau of Customs – who are supposed to inspect the goods – agree to the arrangement
for a share in the commission...
Partner organizations in this website while it was
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Ehem -- the anti-corruption initiative
of the Philippine Jesuits echoes the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines. Ehem
aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately
to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice
of corruption in daily life. Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo --- critical
of corruption, intent on integrity!
Management Association of the Philippines MAP is a management organization
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executives from the top local and multinational companies operating in the country, including some top officials of government
and the academe.
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corruption by seeking synergies between Government of the Republic of
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