Wake Up, Philippines!

Most corrupt country rich in anti-graft measures

Posted in Graft and Corruption by Erineus on May 21, 2009

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:33:00 05/21/2009

Corruption undermines democracy, human rights, civil liberties and sustainable development. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) provides a comprehensive framework for curbing global corruption. The Philippines ratified the UNCAC in 2006 and is therefore a party to it.

Despite this and its no less than 13 anti-corruption laws and elaborate policies, the Philippines, according to a perception index, is now seen as the most corrupt country in Asia. Recent surveys also revealed that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is perceived to be the most corrupt president. And because of unabated corruption and the endless series of scandals, as well as the way presidential powers are being wielded, another group in the United States describes the Philippines as “somewhat a democracy.”

Are we going to accept all these shameful number “one” rankings indifferently?

UNCAC’s Articles 13, 32 and 33 highlight the strategic role of civil society in translating the fine words of the convention into actions. The articles recognize that the success in the fight against corruption depends on those professionally and morally courageous enough to report or denounce corruption at work and in society. We are angered by the killings of journalists and anti-corruption activists, as well as the sacking, suspension, harassment and persecution of a large number of workers. Those who report and denounce corruption are exercising their basic human right to freely express themselves and, therefore, deserve protection.

But the Arroyo administration seems hell-bent on making this country one of the most dangerous places not only for journalists but also for whistle-blowers; in fact, on making whistle-blowers vulnerable to the counterblows—physical, psychological, or legal—of the powers-that-be who believe that being in power gives them the right to steal, commit wrongdoing and violate all moral and ethical standards with impunity. I need not elaborate the tragic “criminalization” of NBN-ZTE whistle-blower Jun Lozada and the “canonization” of criminals and pathological liars.

While whistle-blowers struggle to put food on their family tables and to pay the monthly bills and their children’s school fees, the culprits are having the best time of their life making hay.

—ANNIE ENRIQUEZ GERON,
general secretary,
Public Services Labor Independent
Confederation (PSLINK),
15 Clarion Lily St.,
St. Dominic Subdivision I,
Congressional Avenue,
Project 6, Quezon City

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/letterstotheeditor/view/20090521-206238/Most-corrupt-country-rich-in-anti-graft-measures

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