Philippine Graft and Corruption
We can only imagine what the country would look like if these funds had been properly spent, but certainly there would be less poverty and more “island paradise.” The officials who squander the country’s resources have a stranglehold on the development and prosperity of the entire nation.
4. (PERC), a Hong Kong firm specializing in strategic business information and analysis, were Indonesia and Vietnam. In 2007, the Philippines dropped to last place of the 13 Asian economies studied by PERC.
Among the challenges to national development in the Philippines are graft and corruption, which are manifest in many various forms including bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement, vote buying, cronyism, and nepotism. Corruption Perceptions Index 2006 (Table 1), Global Corruption Report 2007, Transparency International
Billions allocated to infrastructure projects, community development, and improving the lives and health of the Filipino people have gone into individuals’ pockets, or Swiss bank accounts, instead of designated projects. Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 10, 1999, as cited in “Graft and Corruption: the Philippine Experience,” op. 502
7. cit., p. So, the Philippines has a relatively poor ranking, but quantifying graft gives a better idea of the impact on the nation. “Philippines More Corrupt Than Indonesia, Poll Says,” Katherine Espina, Bloomberg.com, March 13, 2007
The Marcos regime, which has been described as a kleptocracy, literally “rule by thieves,” made the Guinness Book of World Records in the late 1980s as the most corrupt government of all time. Fortunately, the situation has improved. cit., p. 504
Corruption has both political and socio-cultural roots: the political system and its institutions allow graft and corruption to flourish, but it is people, not institutions, who are robbing government funds. Additionally, corruption facilitates criminal enterprises such as black marketing and illegal gambling syndicates, both also prevalent.. 56, p. Corruption in Asia (Graph), Excerpt from Asian Intelligence Issue #701, March 1, 2006, Political Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd.
1. Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 10, 1999, as cited in “Graft and Corruption: the Philippine Experience,” op. In September 1998, President Estrada said stealing would waste roughly 100 billion pesos (approximately USD2.5 billion), which translates to about 20% of the national budget proposed for 1999! In June 1999, President Estrada consistently applied this percentage, stating that 24.1 billion pesos (about USD600 million), or 20% of all government project funds spent the previous year, were lost to graft and corruption. The following month, Philippine Ombudsman Aniano Desierto claimed the government lost 1.4 trillion pesos (perhaps USD100 billion, varying exchange rate over 11 years) since 1988 when the Office began investigating government corruption, and continues to lose 100 million pesos daily, or 36.5 billion (roughly USD940 million) annually. (The Office of the Ombudsman is a special independent body to support the principles of honesty, integrity, and public accountability and to serve as the people’s protector and watchdog.) Although there is some variance in the figures, they serve to indicate the scale of graft.
6. This article attempts to give an idea of the magnitude of the problem, while subsequent essays will focus on how some political institutions foster graft and corruption, and on socio-cultural aspects which seem to encourage taking opportunities to steal public funds.
It is difficult to quantify other costs of corruption, such as potential revenue lost to thriving black market industries, and foreign and domestic capital, businesses, and jobs these businesses would have created, all sources of new tax revenue, lost due to the high-risk investment climate caused by corruption. “Graft and Corruption: the Philippine Experience,” Nelson Nogot Moratalla, Deputy Director/ Dean of Academics, Philippine National Police Academy, Philippine Public Safety College, 113th International Training Course Participants’ Papers, Resource Material Series No. Additionally, it is likely that the many billions of pesos (estimated at 13 billion annually ) collected by illegal gambling syndicates, which could not operate without government acquiescence, come mainly from the poor who most need the government’s help and protection.
5. This travesty results in untold misery now, and guarantees more in the future. “‘Jueteng’ back in 7 provinces, says Archbishop Cruz,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 29, 2005
3. Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 7, 1998, as cited in “Graft and Corruption: the Philippine Experience,” p. In 2006, Transparency International, the Berlin-based non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1993 to curb corruption in international transactions, rated the Philippines less corrupt than 51 of 163 nations, but ranking among Asian nations is not good. The only Asian nations in 2006 receiving a worse rating than the Philippines from the Political Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd