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A Teacher: Corruption in the Philippines

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In the early 1960s, the Philippines was an economic power. In fact, during the era, the archipelago nation boasted one of the largest economies in Asia, behind only Japan.

Today, while it remains an important part of Asean and the world community at large, it’s safe to say that those glory days are long over. When most outsiders think of the Philippines today, it is political instability, economic struggle, crime and corruption that often come to mind.

hen political leaders lie, cheat and steal, when public offices become a common public curse especially in terms of graft and corruption, when public funds go to private pockets, then we begin to realize …

Corruption is the gravest threat to Philippine democracy and society today. We must stop graft and corruption in our country!

A Changing Nation – Changing for the worse …
bribery, corruption and finally, pardon for plundering leaders. The trouble in our country is uncontrollable corruption and greed at the highest level. But still we love our country Philippines ..

Nowadays foreigners and citizens alike say that the Philippines has the most corrupt leadership and economy. Corruption in the Philippines has become “a humanitarian crisis” and scandals increasingly seem to dominate the news.

The worsening corruption has eaten up the right of every citizen to good governance, freedom, decent life, and more importantly his or her dignity.

Corruption is a serious obstacle to the social and economic development of a country. The biggest losers are the Filipino people. In effect, the end-users are made to pay for overpriced goods or services or are made to deal with low-quality or substandard goods or services.


Despite the seriousness of the problem, people in government seem to show no sense of urgency or ‘mastery’ of the steps necessary to fight it. The same government that taxes us must demonstrate that public money is being used for public good, not private greed.

It is our right to demand real change, action and improvement from those who take our money from and spend it in our name.


Corruption scandals are only “closed” by the fact of other corruption scandals taking its place. New scandals take over and the old ones are left hanging and unresolved.The media is literally sinking in reporting scandals to try and ensure closure on each one.Nobody ever seems to be punished: They are left to leave the country, get confined to their state-of-art hospitals, resign, get offered early retirement package – even get reassigned. Worse, executive orders are sometimes issued preventing them from talking during congressional or other independent hearings.

Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno
“Let’s bring honesty back to business and
government, and we will redirect our path
as a people back to higher grounds.”


According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report
2008-2009, companies have identified corruption as their number one concern for doing business in the Philippines, and bribery appears to be an increasing problem for companies.In the World Bank & IFC Enterprise Survey Philippines 2003, 45% of companies admit to having paid bribes in order to ‘get things done’, and in the SWS Business Survey on Corruption 2007, three out of five managers were asked for a bribe in at least one transaction the previous year, and the amount of the bribe was higher than it had been in the past.Corruption is often encountered when interacting with public officials. Half the companies surveyed by SWS report that they are discouraged and claim that corruption is systemic, forming an integrated part of the way government works.

They also state that most companies they compete against must pay bribes in order to obtain a government contract. Nearly 28% of companies in the Philippines report that bribes are solicited in their meetings with tax officials.Other areas where companies state that bribes or facilitation payments are often expected is in obtaining operating licences, construction permits and import licences. Although the corruption level of the private sector is not as high as in the public sector, one-fifth of all company managers claim that bribes are needed to win a private contract.According to the SWS Surveys of Enterprises on Corruption 2006-2007, only 7% of the managers reported corruption to the authorities, thus indicating reluctance on their part to be whistleblowers. More than 66% of the managers declared that it was futile to report corruption, while 49% where afraid of reprisals.


Other types of private sector corruption common in the Philippines are illegal donations to political parties and bribery in order to influence policy-making. According to the SWS Business Survey on Corruption 2007, 25% of companies said that a typical company within their sector would make a donation to the 2007 election campaigns of an estimated amount of PHP 245,000.It is a commonplace feature of companies in the Philippines to support politicians directly or to donate to their parties. Some companies also report that politicians expect them to make campaign donations. In general, companies in the Philippines want some kind of influence in exchange for their donation, such as influencing laws and policy-making, or some other undue advantage.The concentration of wealth within a small group of elite families, seen in combination with political donations, gives these families an undue advantage, and this has led to concerns as to their undue influence on both Philippine politics and business life.


According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2007, the Philippine business sector has problems with corruption, although the level of corruption in the sector is reported to have declined from the previous year.Nevertheless, companies that are planning to invest in or are already doing business in the Philippines are recommended to conduct due diligence when entering into business partnerships or contracting agents to facilitate business transactions in the country.Controlling corruption risks is essential in order to avoid cases like that of the US company that had to pay a large civil penalty under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2008 and was ordered to dissolve itself for having been in partnership with a Philippines based company that had made numerous illegal payments to foreign government officials.According to the SWS Business Survey on Corruption 2007, two out of five Filipino managers spend an average of PHP 292,000 to combat corruption and fraud in their own companies, and one out of five donates an average amount of PHP 136,000 to an anti-corruption fund. About half claim that they will continue their donations. The Philippine private sector thus acknowledges that corruption is a huge problem that companies need to work towards solving.

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