Some 92 percent of Filipinos believe the government should strengthen anti-corruption laws and collective mechanisms to implement and fulfill its international commitment to combating corruption, a recent Pulse Asia survey showed.
The same survey showed 36 percent of respondents believe that controlling corruption will benefit the country’s economic recovery and development while 22 percent believe it will improve the plight of ordinary citizens.
Stratbase CEO and Democracy Watch Philippines Lead Convenor Prof. Dindo Manhit disclosed the survey in an online forum discussing evidence-based research and advocacy for democratic governance.
“A very important value that we lack in our governance culture: accountability. I like the Filipino word ‘pananagutan.’ Imagine if the public sector is accountable for their actions and their decisions in a more transparent way. Then you know, it leads me to my third word which is ‘responsive.’
Then they become more responsive. The public would feel that this government is serving us,” Manhit said.
“Considering that the majority of our people are poor, imagine the responsive governance system—they can basically uplift the lives of our people because resources after resources are placed in the bureaucracy. That’s money spent coming from people’s taxes,” he added.
The survey was conducted from September 17 to 21, 2022, and was commissioned by the Stratbase Group.
Manhit said concerns regarding transparency and accountability in government will not be addressed unless it is prioritized by the government.
With the Marcos government’s proposed P5.268 trillion budget for 2023, Manhit emphasized there is a need to ensure that public funds are spent efficiently and properly.
“What we want is institutions of government to become more transparent, accountable, and responsive in terms of delivering public services, in terms of managing the public sector. Because at the end of the day, they exist for the general public alone and for the national interest of the Filipino people alone. So that’s very key,” Manhit said.
The same Pulse Asia survey showed 91 percent of Filipinos believe that to effectively control corruption, the government should cooperate with the different forces and groups in society like the civil society, academe, private sector, mass media, and ordinary citizens.
Similarly, Manhit expressed optimism that with a whole-of-society approach, it is possible to have a transparent and accountable government.
Manhit noted that a recent survey conducted by the Management Association of the Philippines among business leaders showed that 67 percent believe that corruption is the top factor that is delaying the country’s economic recovery.
“Bringing in even people who might not normally be vocal like the private sector, like the business sector. So, a whole-of-society approach can ensure transparency, accountability, and a responsive public sector. We just have to work together, continue pushing it and making it a top agenda of the government and society as a whole group in the Philippines,” Manhit said.
“It’s good to have the private sector—to listen to them, to engage with them, instead of vilifying them because that’s what President Duterte did. Data shows that the public knows the role that the private sector plays and they have played it through the years: job creation and investments, which uplifts the lives of people,” he added.
The Stratbase Group will gather key government officials, business leaders, experts from the academe, and the civil society in a two-day conference on Nov. 21 and 22, 2022 entitled Pilipinas Conference 2022: Onward to New Beginnings: Sustaining and Improving Philippine Development.
Participating in the event are key government leaders including Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez.
Also attending are the top officials of the biggest corporations in the country, diplomatic officials, and security and geopolitics experts.