Gov’t asks public: Report incidents of corruption

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    THE National Economic and Development Authority yesterday asked the public to participate in government’s anti-corruption drive by, among others, reporting incidents of corruption involving public officials.

    This after Transparency International, in its Corruption Perception Index (CPI), reported the Philippines scored 34 points out of 100, which is lower than the 36-point score in 2018, reverting to the 2017 and 2012 levels.

    The Philippines dropped 14 places in corruption perception to 113th out of 180 countries in 2019. It placed seventh among the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, down from fifth in 2018.

    The CPI uses a scale of zero to 100, with zero meaning “highly corrupt” and 100 “very clean.” The global average is 43. Countries are ranked based on the perception by experts and business leaders of public sector corruption. Transparency International said countries with low scores like the Philippines “have a higher concentration of political power among wealthy citizens.”

    Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia encouraged Filipinos to report incidents of corruption through the “8888” hotline.

    “We must improve engagement with our citizens to build trust and confidence in the government. Stamping out corruption must be done as a nation; everyone has a role to play to free our country from the shackles of corruption,” he said.

    Pernia also appealed to people to promote integrity by not giving or spreading false information.

    “While we encourage the use of technology through mobile and web platforms to increase access and improve awareness of anti-corruption initiatives, we also need to emphasize the need to be responsible,” Pernia said.

    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, said the drop does not mean that the anti-corruption drive is a failure but also said the Philippines is “struggling” in the campaign.

    He said there are a lot of complaints reaching President Duterte, but the President, being a lawyer, follows due process and requires actual evidence before he could file charges or fire anyone.

    “It will goad us to sack more corrupt officials. Sack, S-A-C-K. Provided, of course, there is evidence to show that they are. The problem is this: There are many complaints of corruption but the President, as a lawyer, needs certain documentary and testimonial evidence to give him the basis, and many Filipinos are still afraid to reveal themselves or to give evidence of this sort,” he said.

    Panelo said the President is determined to rid government of corruption, which he said is evident in his firing of some officials, including his appointees, because of corruption. – With Jocelyn Montemayor