The Philippines did it again with its rampant corruption that cost them a hold on funding aid from Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to work with developing countries, based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth. That is definitely the bad news but if we take Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s response to this embarrassing development you would think the Philippines just won a Nobel peace prize, to quote:
I was able to speak with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and she said based on the statement of the MCC, the Philippines has actually been reselected [for eligibility in the MCC Compact] on the condition that the Philippines submit its anticorruption programs [and] subject to the Philippines satisfying the MCC’s anti-corruption standards.Huh? Ambassador Kenney congratulated the Philippines? WTF is he talking about, of course partner countries in this case the Philippines are not discouraged to write a compact proposal but said proposal is just that a proposal that will not be signed until it passes the indicator criteria on corruption as shown in this press release from MCC:
He added, “What’s important is the Philippines remains eligible” and added Kenney congratulated the Philippines for being “reselected.”
The Board agreed 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. The Board called upon the Government of the Philippines to intensify its efforts to fight corruption and will closely monitor the country’s performance,” said Ambassador Danilovich.Malacañang would rather concoct spin after spin instead of working to stop the continuing decline in the country’s “control of corruption” scorecard which fell progressively from 76 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 57 percent in FY2008 and 47 percent in FY2009, as show in this delusional spin master:
In what seems to be an odd development, National Economic and Development Authority Deputy Secretary- General Augusto Santos belittled the assistance, saying that while the Arroyo government was thankful for the MCC aid, such facility “does not provide substantial” help for the government’s campaign against poverty.What exactly is Augusto Santos yapping about when he says that the MCC aid “does not provide substantial” help for the government’s campaign against poverty? It is not enough that you beg like a dog for the “goodies,” especially in a nation where the president is perceived as the number one cheat but a strong political will is needed among the national leaders to fight corruption. Pia Cayetano’s observation rings true, and I feel her frustration, to quote:
Sen. Pia Cayetano complained “the absence of transparency and accountability in government dealings, compounded by the Arroyo administration’s practice to stonewall every investigation on the numerous scandals involving its top officials, have eroded not only the people’s trust in their leaders, but also our good standing before the international community.”If there is political will and if investigations are not treated by the politicians for its sound bytes then maybe just maybe things will move in the right direction. Loren Legarda says that corruption hits the poor the hardest while Mar Roxas says it is adding salt to the wounds of the poor. They are both right but rant release errr press releases will do us no good in terms of fighting corruption and as leaders they should lead us in identifying the problem areas and come up with measures to combat corruption instead of just deploring the problems.
She indicated this is the reason the Philippines has been removed from those qualified to get some of the aid fund next year and Cayetano recalled a similar instance in November 2007, when the World Bank decided to suspend $323 million in soft loans for the Philippine road project due to reports of corruption.
Maybe if the political leaders start walking the walk and not just talk and concentrate more in cooperation with civil societies in combating corruption then we probably will hear less of the frustrations or worse spins that is so irritating. Here is a Philippine highlight and integrity indicators from Global Integrity Report:
The Philippines score moderately in many important governance areas, with a few exceptions earning very weak performance ratings. Political financing is effectively unregulated. Journalists and judges are frequently threatened and killed (25 journalists have been killed since 2004). Public access to information is guaranteed in the constitution, and the legal information framework is well regarded. However, in practice, politically charged documents have been withheld. Oversight of state-owned enterprises is inconsistent and poses little risk of investigation.
Political financing and state owned enterprise rated poorly in the integrity indicator above and they should have figured this out since it was obvious but since they are all about political control power it will take a miracle for them to address political financing. If you have a fraudulent political financing that is costing them an arm and a leg to get elected they will naturally recoup the investment and of course the easiest to milk are the state owned enterprises. If they are indeed serious then a good start is this users guide to measuring corruption........
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