PH drops to 115th place in global corruption index

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021   •   1100

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines lands in 115th place out of 180 countries in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

From the 113th position, the Philippines dropped two places with no change in the state of corruption in the country.

“With a score of 34, efforts to control corruption in the Philippines mostly appear stagnant since 2012.  The government’s response to COVID-19 has been characterized by abusive enforcement and major violations of human rights and media freedom,” Transparency International said.

Based on the rating of Transparency International, countries with highly clean of corruption can score as high as 100 while highly corrupt countries garner lower scores up to zero. The Philippines has a score of 34, way lower than the average score of 43 points worldwide and 45 points in the Asia-Pacific region.

The country, however, outranked three of its neighbors in Asia — Laos (134th), Myanmar (137th), and Cambodia (160th).

“Countries with higher corruption levels also tend to be the worst violators of rule of law and democratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. These include the Philippines (34), where the response to COVID-19 has been characterized by major attacks on human rights and media freedom,” Transparency International said.

Transparency International also noted how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has heavily affected the Asia Pacific region.

“With an average score of 45, the Asia Pacific region struggles to combat corruption and tackle the profound health and economic impact of COVID-19,” the Transparency International’s report said.

“With a score of 88, New Zealand is consistently one of the top performers on the CPI, both in the region and around the world. The country is followed by Singapore (85), Australia (77), and Hong Kong (77). Conversely, Cambodia (21), Afghanistan (19), and North Korea (18) earn the lowest scores in the region,” the report further read.

The organization also stated that countries with high corruption levels tend to have more violators of rule of law and democratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. -AAC

Over 1 million Filipinos vaccinated against COVID-19 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More than one million Filipinos have been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Malacañang said.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that as of April 12, a total of 1,007,356 individuals have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 132,228 were already given their second dose.

Among Priority Group A1 or the medical frontliners, 848,986 already received their first dose, while 116,183 had their second dose, he added.

Healthcare workers are the first group on the priority list followed by senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

“Sa ASEAN makikita ninyo po bagama’t tayo po ay medyo nahuli sa pag-a-administer ng bakuna, tayo po ngayon ang pangatlo sa pinakamaraming nabakunahan na sa ASEAN. … Ito naman po ay sa kabila ng kakulangan talaga ng mga supply eh pangatlo pa rin po tayo sa ASEAN,” Roque said.

The Palace official said that among ASEAN countries, Indonesia currently ranks first with 14.7 million vaccine doses administered, followed by Singapore at 1.7 million, and the Philippines with 1.1 million.

The Philippines is followed by Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Brunei, he added.

DPWH pledges to intensify efforts vs corruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has signed a manifesto pledging to intensify efforts to curb graft and corruption in the department.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar on Monday (April 12) signed a Pledge of Cooperation and Oath of Honesty Manifesto in partnership with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

This is our pledge to the people and our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that we will continue to implement stringent action against perceived corruption in the Department, to safeguard people’s money, and that the wrong-doing goes punished,” Villar said.


Officials of the Department of Public Works and…

Posted by Department of Public Works and Highways on Sunday, April 11, 2021

The DPWH Task Force Against Graft and Corruption was previously created to investigate anomalies allegedly perpetrated by officials and/or employees of the department, based on valid complaints.

Several heads in the department reportedly involved in corrupt practices were already relieved from their posts while reshuffling or reassignment were also implemented. AAC

PH, US defense chiefs tackle West Philippine Sea situation, regional security issues

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III on Sunday (April 11) discussed the situation in the West Philippine Sea and some measures to deepen the defense cooperation of two countries amid recent tensions in the contested waters.

In a statement, the Department of National Defense (DND) said the defense chiefs of the two nations held a telephone conference to talk about the situation in the West Philippine Sea and recent developments in regional security.

DND Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong earlier said that the Philippines is “keeping all options open” but said they are closely coordinating with the United States government on the matter.

Andolong also said that both parties are “committed to undertake their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty so that neither stands alone in these issues involving the two states’ inherent right of self-defense, individually and collectively.”

The United States and the Philippines signed the mutual defense treaty in 1951.

In a separate statement, Austin said he spoke with his counterpart to reaffirm their commitment to the alliance between the US and the Philippines.

“I had a productive call with SND @del_lorenzana to discuss challenges in the South China Sea and the need for unity in ensuring security and stability in the region. #FreeandopenIndoPacific,” he said.

The DND said both defense chiefs “are looking forward to the conduct of Exercise Balikatan, which was canceled last year.”

Austin also reiterated the importance of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two nations and “hopes that it would be continued.”

“Secretary Lorenzana committed to discuss the matter with the President as the final approval lies with him,” the DND said.

Also during the phone conversation, Lorenzana sought Austin’s assistance to speed up the delivery of Moderna-developed COVID-19 vaccine doses that were procured by the Philippine government.

“To which, Secretary Austin replied that he would look into the issue and bring it to the attention of the office concerned,” the DND said.


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