THE MARCOS administration must lay down an agenda against corruption and bribery as it pursues investors and public-private partnerships for the country’s economic recovery, according to a national research organization on transparency, citizen participation, and accountability.
Joy G. Aceron, convenor-director of government watchdog G-Watch, said there has been “a general rollback on governance reforms” under the previous administration, wasting efforts in the past to address corruption and bribery in the country.
“There were efforts in the past to address corruption and bribery in state transactions but under the previous administration, there has been a general rollback on governance reforms, especially those that fight or deter corruption,” she said in a Messenger chat.
“There have been problems regarding access to information and transparency in some agencies. This is despite many efforts to open government,” Ms. Aceron said.
“The lack of support from the top that enables and fosters transparency has a great impact on agencies and government officials.”
She said the government should be alarmed by indicators showing worsening corruption and bribery in the Philippines.
In the 2022 Bribery Risk Matrix released by US business association TRACE, the Philippines’ score worsened, although its ranking improved five places to 114th out of 194 countries.
The Philippines under former president Rodrigo R. Duterte had ranked poorly in global rule of law and corruption indexes.
“If the national government does not act on its own, then civil society and citizens should utilize available means to ensure accountability from government officials,” Dennis F. Quilala, who teaches political science at the University of the Philippines, said in a Messenger chat.
“Filing cases against those who bribe and accept bribes should be considered.”
Mr. Quilala said adopting measures to enhance ease of doing business would also boost investor confidence.
“It is important for the government to improve the services for business not only to perform better in terms of business sector perceptions of its services but also to benefit its citizens,” he said.
“There have been efforts from local governments to streamline the processes,” he noted. “The challenge would be how hundreds of other local governments can learn from these models. The national government can facilitate this.”
“The Philippine government has to realize that if it wants to attract investors, they have to adopt the strategies of other countries and hopefully do better in terms of investor perception,” he added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza