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Minimal gains

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The Philippines improved its score in the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), going up a notch as it scored 34 out of 100 in the recently released 2023 CPI.

The score of 34 is an ever so slight improvement over last year’s 33, and it is still well below the global average of 43, making our country still below average when corruption is concerned. We ranked 115th out of the 180 countries and territories on the list where scores are based on perceived levels of public sector corruption, with zero being “highly corrupt” and 100 being “very clean.”

TI said “each country’s score is a combination of at least three data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments.” The data sources are collected by a variety of reputable institutions, including the World Bank and World Economic Forum.

Among those measured were various manifestations and policies regarding corruption, including bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain without facing consequences, inability of governments to contain corruption, and excessive red tape.

Other measures included nepotistic appointments in the civil service, laws on disclosure of finances and potential conflicts of interest, legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption, state capture by narrow vested interests, and access to information of public affairs and government activities.

Based on the 2023 report, over two-thirds of countries scored below 50, including the Philippines, “which strongly indicates that they have serious corruption problems.”

“The global average is stuck at only 43, while the vast majority of countries have made no progress or declined in the last decade,” it added.

To be fair to the Philippines, any improvement should be hailed, especially given the global conditions where corruption seems to be gaining ground amidst the trend of weakening justice systems that has been reducing accountability among public officials.

However, the Filipino people and government should not be content with small improvements when it comes to the scourge of corruption, as we cannot allow it to continue bleeding our country dry without doing anything about it.*

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February 2024
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