RP under Arroyo is most corrupt in Asia
Foreign businessmen perceive the Philippines as the most corrupt economy in Asia, a survey conducted by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) showed.
President Arroyo shrugged off the results of the survey that said the Philippines “has the distinction of being perceived in the worst light this year,” edging out perennial bottom dweller Indonesia.
The survey was conducted in January and February covering 1,476 foreign business executives from 13 countries and territories.
The Philippines got a score of 9.40 under a grading system which has zero as the best possible score and 10 as the worst. The Philippines scored 7.80 last year.
Indonesia and Thailand, both with a grade of 8.03, shared the spot as Asia’s second most corrupt nations.
Singapore continues to be perceived as the “cleanest” with a grade of 1.20, which is slightly lower than its 1.30 rating in 2006.
Hong Kong, which previously ranked third cleanest, is now in the second spot followed by Japan which dropped to third from second in 2006. The rest in the order of least corruption were Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, South Korea, India, and Vietnam.
PERC, which provides advice to private firms and governments, said while the Philippines’ score worsened, it has not noted any worsening in the actual situation.
“It is bad and has been bad all along. People are just growing tired of the inaction and insincerity of leading officials when they promise to fight corruption,” it said, citing the prolonged corruption trial of President Joseph Estrada as an example why the respondents “were so negative in their assessment.”
President Arroyo, in an interview with journalist Antonio Lopez of Biznews Asia, said the political analyses and surveys were based on old data and newspaper reports.
“The credit ratings were fine. Iyung political analysis they work on old data. They don’t work on up-to-date data and then they look at newspapers. And if you’re going to look at who are the ones in Transparency International-Philippines, they are made up of opposition people,” she said.
Constancia de Guzman, chief of the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, said the PERC report shows measures being adopted by government to address the corruption problem are not enough.
But she said there has been no let-up in government’s campaign against corruption. She said success in the anti-corruption drive have not made it to the headlines or have not been properly communicated to the public.
She said the PERC report focused on Estrada’s protracted trial and not on what the government has already done.
She, however, said people want actual results in the form of dismissals and suspensions.
“Kahit meron tayong improvement doon sa preventive measures at saka doon sa education component and strategic partnership, ang binibilang ng tao, ilan na ba iyung nakukulong at ilan na ba iyung napaparusahan,” she said.
On the slow pace of the justice system, De Guzman said due process must be observed and the rights of those accused should be respected.
She said a study conducted by World Bank and the US Agency for International Development showed that a corruption case takes an average of seven years to be resolved. This, she said, is the reason the President has ordered agencies to come up with measures to shorten the process.
She said among the measures are the provision of additional funds for the hiring of more investigators and prosecutors for agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman; the deployment of mobile courts to de-clog court dockets; modernization and computerization of the judicial system, particularly court records; and the provision of funds for the improvement of anti-corruption campaigns in agencies that are perceived have the highest number of corruption.