Three reports as wakeup calls

Published by rudy Date posted on May 6, 2011

The 2011 corruption index by Political-Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. (Hong Kong) was a red flag. Sleaze in the Philippines had worsened since 2010, among 16 Asian economies. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 as worst, the country scored 8.9 percent, poorer than the previous 8.25. The Philippines retained its third-most corrupt slot only because the ratings of Cambodia (9.27 from 8.3) and Indonesia (9.25 from 9.07) slipped too. (Source: BusinessWorld)

Expatriate business execs compared their host country with the homeland in November 2010 to February 2011. Singapore, 0.37, was viewed as least corrupt; Hong Kong, 1.1, and Australia, 1.39, followed. Excluding the scores of Australia and the United States, the latest Asian average deteriorated to 6.08 from 5.9. Faring wee bit better than the Philippines were India, Vietnam, China and Thailand. With far superior grades were South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Macau, and Japan.

Government strategists should have noted the score breakdowns. In terms of political corruption, the Philippines rated 8.27. Bureaucrats in city halls were seen as most corrupt, 8.89, followed by city and other local politicians, 8.51. National level bureaucrats scored 8.1, and national politicians 7.57.

In institutional corruption, the country rated 8.5, the third worst. In prosecuting and punishing grafters, it scored 9.75; in government seriousness to solve the problem, 8.1. The military had the worst score, 9.25; followed by the tax bureau, 8.97; and the police, 8.89.

Filipinos were viewed as very tolerant of corruption, 9.21. In private sector corruption, the Philippines and Cambodia tied, 8.5. Bribery among private parties scored 8.5; difficulty dealing with dishonesty, 8.25.

Corruption has hurt the Philippines most. With the end of World War II as takeoff point, its economy should have been the briskest, but clearly is not. With an 8.9-score, respondents said corruption marred the country’s overall business attractiveness. There was a bright spot. At 6.7, they added, it was easy to raise standards by building organizational cultures.

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Came another red flag, the 2010 report by Global Integrity (Washington) with some parallelisms with PERC’s corruption ratings. With the highest score this time at 100, the Philippines rated 57  “weak”  in terms of government and anti-corruption. This was a big drop from 71, “moderate”, in 2008.

With anti-corruption laws rated strong at 89, anti-graft agencies were ineffectively very weak at 53. Judicial independence and citizen access to justice rated weak, 62. Law enforcement conflicts-of-interest safeguards and professionalism scored very weak, 52. Budgeting oversight and transparency was moderate, 71; but government conflicts-of-interest safeguards and checks and balances were very weak, 53. So overall the anti-corruption legal framework, judicial impartiality, law enforcement professionalism, and rule of law was weak, at 64.

Other fields measured: public access to government information, very weak at 42; national ombudsman, very weak at 45; supreme audit institution, very weak at 57; taxes and Customs fairness and capacity, very weak at 50, oversight of state-owned enterprises, moderate at 78; and business licensing and regulation, very weak at 54. Overall, government oversight and controls rated very weak, at 57.

Public administration and professionalism scored moderate, 71. It was pulled down by a very weak score of 58 in civil service conflicts-of-interest safeguards and political independence.

Global Integrity noted whistle blowing as a prime way against sleaze, but lamented the weak protection for whistleblowers, 67. An Omerta Code among grafters leads to ostracism and physical harm of the exposers.

Government procurement transparency and fairness scored very strong, 95; but privatization of public administrative functions rated weak, 63.

Elections in general rated very weak, 46. This was due to weak, 61, voting and party formation; very weak, 59, election integrity; and very weak, 16, political financing transparency. –Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star)

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