USAID’s Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Philippines
Assisting the Philippine Government
in governing justly and democratically is one of USAID’s major objectives. In
the Philippines, USAID supports
a broad range of democracy and governance programs at the national level and local levels. It funds programs in the areas of electoral reform, judicial reform and the rule of law, anticorruption, local
governance, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-trafficking.
In the area of anti-corruption, it works with the Philippine government
to make corruption a high-risk, low-reward activity and focuses in sectors where corruption can be most damaging: taxes and customs administration,
elections, government procurement, and the judiciary. In November 2006 to May 2009, through the Management Systems International
(MSI), a Washington, DC based consultancy firm and a subsidiary of Coffey International, Ltd. of Australia, USAID supported the implementation
of the $21 million Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Philippines Threshold Program. The program assisted the Philippine government
in reducing opportunities for corruption and improving revenue administration through substantial training, research and equipment
support to the Office of the Ombudsman and other anticorruption agencies to enhance their capability in investigating and
Effective anticorruption enforcement, however, requires enhancements beyond capacity-building.
Anti-corruption agencies need a system for the transparent monitoring of corruption cases, from investigation to trial. Institutional
cooperation among accountability agencies must be harnessed and sustained for better detection of corruption and improvement
of public sector systems. Corruption prevention standards at the national level need to be cascaded to local governments.
In October 2009, USAID and MSI launched the two-year Philippines Integrity Project to assist in overcoming these challenges.
Philippines Integrity Project
The USAID-funded Philippines Integrity Project (iPro) is a two-year project administered by MSI.
It started in October 2009 and will conclude in September 2011. It builds on the work done by MSI on the MCA Philippines
Threshold Program and supports the process of reducing corruption by seeking synergies between Government of the Republic
of the Philippines agencies and civil society at all levels.
The project addresses corruption through the following inter-related
Component 1: Strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB)
iPro assists the OMB in reviewing and
improving its case management processes in support of the agency’s efforts to build better case records and information
management capabilities. The Project expects to produce a comprehensive business process enhancement manual of procedures
that will serve as guide for OMB in implementing process improvements across the agency.
In addition, iPro
is also developing an electronic Legal Information Archive to include past OMB and Sandiganbayan decisions that will serve
as reference to the agency’s graft investigators.
Component 2: Supporting
Effective Prosecution of Corruption Cases in the Lower Courts
the OMB and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to build an effective system for the successful prosecution of lower court corruption
cases nationwide. iPro supports the
completion and maintenance of an accurate database of cases to use as a tool for sound caseload management. The development of a guidebook for civil society-based court watch programs complements these efforts by seeking to assist in making the lower courts more efficient in
handling corruption cases.
Component 3: Building
institutional cooperation to reduce corruption
To be successful in the fight against corruption, initiatives by concerned
agencies must be done cooperatively. iPro provides
specific targeted support in strengthening the capabilities of and cooperation between the members of the Constitutional Integrity
Group (CIG), composed of the OMB, Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Commission on Audit (COA). This support focuses on the provision of technical assistance to the CIG policy and working committees,
particularly in the use of forensic audits and criminal investigations in the prosecution of public officials for graft and
corruption and asset recovery through joint training of auditors, investigators and prosecutors, followed by joint investigation,
especially of high profile corruption cases. It also includes a program of lectures, seminars, forums, etc.,
the maintenance of a website, IntegriNews, www.integridad-ph.com
, and other activities related to mobilizing all sectors in the fight against corruption
Component 4: Carrying
corruption vulnerability self-assessments to the local government units (LGUs)
In 2003, with the USAID supported Economic Governance Technical
Assistance (EGTA) project developed the Integrity Development Review (IDR) to enable a public sector agency to conduct a self-assessment
on the extent to which systems, processes and practices are vulnerable to corruption. Applied to national agencies, the process
has proven itself to be a valuable tool for examining corruption vulnerabilities within national government agencies and for
developing solutions to reduce those vulnerabilities. iPro supports adapting and delivering the IDR process to the local level developing the IDR assessment
tool and by engaging Local Government Units (LGUs) in the pilot process of guided self-assessment, thus assuring “ownership”
of the initiatives. The assessment tool is being piloted on 14 LGUs.
Complementing this activity is the conduct of
a pilot LGU peer mentoring program which aims to support robust LGUs mentor and train other LGUs in addressing local governance
challenges, specifically economic enterprise management. To effectively implement these activities, iPro encourages the continued participation of applicable local and regional leagues to reinforce the strengthening
of good governance in the LGUs.
iPro Ongoing Activities and
Plans for the Final Year
Following the completion of a number of activities and based on the requests arising from the meetings and
workshops held with project counterparts, the following new activities/approaches are being supported in the final year of
iPro. The majority of the new activities will focus on expanding the scope of Component 3 in support of the Constitutional
Component 1: Strengthening
the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB)
· Completion of the business process enhancement requirements of OMB, with the development
of the Manual of Procedures (MoP). Part of the MoP is the enhanced evidence security procedures that follow best practices.
· Completion of the CD-based electronic reference facility OMB Legal Information
Archive, containing more than 30,000 pages of OMB issuances, OMB legal opinions, and SandiganBayan decisions for use as reference
exclusively within OMB.
· Development of a Change Management and Training Plan that will guide OMB in implementing
the proposed process enhancements contained in the MoP.
· Provision of essential systems design inputs to the complaints and case management
system currently being developed by OMB.
· Completion of the Information Technology Assessment Study to determine current
status of OMB’s IT capabilities, and to identify for OMB areas that require further improvement.
Component 2: Supporting Effective Prosecution
of Corruption Cases in the Lower Courts
· Preparing and disseminating a guide for the evaluation and assessment of the operations
of the courts that may be utilized by NGOs, professional legal organizations, civic societies, law students and others in
seeking to make the justice system more effective.
Component 3: Building institutional cooperation
to reduce corruption.
· Conduct of the following trainings and conferences:
o COA and CSC trainings on corruption investigation which is expected to provide COA and CSC personnel with
information on relevant anticorruption laws and policies and procedures of the OMB functions from field investigation to prosecution.
o Forensic audit trainings for CIG members by an international expert.
o Anticorruption conferences on various governance and anticorruption themes to boost CIG efforts in the anticorruption
o Trainings on detecting and prosecuting unliquidated cash advances.
o OMB-COA joint plenary and development, adoption and implementation of guidelines on joint memorandum-circulars
on joint investigation and case records management system.
o CSC National Forum on Ethics and Accountability which aims to assist the President of the Philippines in
issuing an Executive Order directing all public entities to observe ethical and accountability standards in public service.
o High-level meetings and workshops with various sectors that will spur anticorruption awareness in the Philippines.
o Strategic planning workshop and launching of COA’s governance program.
· Participation of CIG members in international anticorruption conferences.
· Development of a database of COA cases forwarded to the OMB.
· Procurement of secure filing cabinets to ensure records-keeping of OMB-COA documents.
· Sponsorship of an anticorruption website.
· Development of a joint guidebook on handling audit-related corruption cases.
· Conduct of a study on the progress of
Philippine anticorruption efforts.
Component 4: Carrying
corruption vulnerability self-assessments to the local government units
of the refinement of the IDR Assessment Tool to adapt to LGUs, done with OMB and DILG experts.
of the pilot run of the IDR Assessment exercises at 14 LGUs across the country. The LGUs pilot sites include a mix of provinces,
cities, municipalities, and barangays. The IDR Assessment Tool will then be finalized based on post-assessment review and
· Development of an Integrity Development Action Plan for LGUs
· Conduct of a peer mentoring program focused on addressing economic enterprise
challenges in at least four LGUs.
· Collaboration and execution of a MOU between the OMB and the
Department of the Interior and Local Government on integrity-building in LGUs.