US: RP must pass corruption test first

Published by rudy Date posted on December 17, 2008

Washington maintained yesterday that the Philippines must pass the indicator criteria on corruption before the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) will sign a compact program.

The US Embassy in Manila clarified that the Philippines passed 14 of the 17 indicators for eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact program but failed on corruption.

“Contrary to news reports, the Philippines passed 14 of 17 indicators, but did not pass the one on corruption and must pass it,” said Press Attache Rebecca Thompson.

She said the MCC Board agreed during its meeting last Thursday that the Philippines remains eligible for developing a compact proposal, but emphasized that MCC will not sign a compact until the country passes the indicator criteria on corruption.

“The Board also reiterated the importance of this principle with respect to all its partner countries,” she added.

The Board called upon the Philippine government to intensify its efforts to fight corruption and will closely monitor the country’s performance.

A Palace official said on Monday that Washington and the MCC, the US foreign aid arm, should first look at their own backyard before they lecture on good governance and criticize the Philippine government’s efforts to curb corruption and promote good governance.

The official said the US’ sloppy regulatory work resulted in the collapse of financial markets that requires $4 trillion in bailout money.

The collapse of the US financial system, the official said, happened ironically during the watch of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is also MCC vice chairman.

In September, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. said the Philippines, Malawi and Timor Leste appealed to the US Senate for an increase in funding for the MCA to support their programs of strengthening democratic institutions in developing countries, reinforcing the rule of law and liberalizing the economies of its recipient partner countries.

The request for additional funding was made following a call of Senator Patrick Leah, Chair of the Foreign Operations Sub-committee of the Committee of Appropriations, for a review of all current MCC Compact funding.

In a letter to Leah, the Governments of the Philippines, Malawi and Timor Leste reiterated the importance of the MCC to the three countries.–Pia Lee-Brago, Philippine Star

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