National Integrity System Study of the Philippines Released
Transparency International (TI) and Transparency International Philippines (TI Philippines) today released a National Integrity System (NIS) Study finding that despite a flurry of anti-corruption efforts in the country, the problem of corruption remains prevalent in the Philippines.
The NIS consists of the key institutions, laws and practices that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society. When it functions properly, the NIS combats corruption as part of the larger struggle against abuse of power, malfeasance, and misappropriation in all its forms. The NIS approach provides a framework with which to analyse both the extent and causes of corruption in a given national context, as well as the adequacy and effectiveness of national anti-corruption efforts. By diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of a particular integrity system, an evaluation based on the NIS can help inform anti-corruption advocacy and reform efforts.
The NIS study of the Philippines found that although the government advocates zero-tolerance for corruption and follows best practice by adopting a three-pronged approach against it through promotion, prevention and enforcement, a lack of compliance and implementation on the side of the public and a lack of prosecutions, convictions and enforcement on the side of the authorities persists. It suggests that in a country with institutionalized corruption, integrity pillars themselves are compromised by systemic corruption compounded with difficulties to operate efficiently and effectively. Collusion, state capture, leadership incapable of crushing vested interests and a lack of a focal point are issues that still need to be addressed. The study showed that a bifurcation remains between catching ‘small fry’ and ‘big fish’; between rhetoric and reality, and promise and performance. Stakeholders pointed out the lack of will power to stamp out corruption, the nagging problem of morality in leadership and the absence of respect for the rule of law.
The study suggests that these problems may be tackled by reviewing constitutional law, particularly in areas concerning appointments and the excessive power of the executive, strengthening institutional restraints against political interventions, building capacity within institutions, supporting demand for adherence to democratic principles in the public domain, ensuring independence and fiscal autonomy of accountability bodies and promoting moral standards and ethical values. Several priority recommendations are made in the study to this end: regulatory reform should decrease the use of regulatory powers to curb corruption and instead focus on increasing the use of incentives and opportunities to achieve zero tolerance for corruption; the political party system and campaign financing need strengthening; and independence of oversight bodies should be enhanced. As an immediate follow up measure to the study’s release, Transparency International Philippines aims to conduct an assessment forum and bring together stakeholders interests in pursuing reasonable implementation of recommendations in the NIS Study Report.
The NIS study of the Philippines is one of more than 55 country studies undertaken worldwide, and was completed in the framework of a regional project to analyse the NIS of 9 countries in East and Southeast Asia including Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Judge Dolores Español, Chairperson TI Philippines
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