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Moderate risk for Philippines in defense corruption index

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Moderate risk for Philippines in defense corruption index
The country scored 55 out of 100 in TI Defense and Security’s Government Defense Integrity Index, which assesses the quality of institutional controls to manage the risk of corruption in defense and security institutions.
Philstar.com / File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is at “moderate risk” for corruption in defense and security institutions, according to a report released by London-based Transparency International (TI).

The country scored 55 out of 100 in TI Defense and Security’s Government Defense Integrity Index, which assesses the quality of institutional controls to manage the risk of corruption in defense and security institutions.

“Institutional resilience to corruption is modest across the Philippines’ defense institutions,” read the report, which included a detailed assessment of the integrity of national defense institutions of 84 countries.

“Oversight of policymaking and procurement by parliament is particularly weak and transparency remains limited throughout the sector, including with regard to financial management. Nevertheless, corruption risk mitigation is relatively robust in military operations,” it added.

The overall assessment is derived from scores in 77 areas, divided into five key corruption risk areas: political, financial, personnel, operational and procurement.

The Philippines scored moderate in all categories, with the highest in financial risk at 60, personnel at 53, operational and procurement at 53 each and political at 50.

Among specific risks, the Philippines scored “critical” in two items (whistleblowing and corruption monitoring and operations); “very high” in 11 items (including legislative access to information, objective appointments and internal audit); and “high” in 12 items (including secret program auditing, defense spending, anti-corruption institutions and access to information).

The country had “moderate” corruption risks in 21 items, “low” in 16 items and “very low” in nine items (including budget detail and transparency, public commitment to integrity, anti-corruption policy and complaint mechanisms).

Out of the countries included in the index, only Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and United Kingdom were assessed to have “very low” risk in corruption of defense and security institutions.

Among those in critical risk were Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

In Southeast Asia, joining the Philippines in the “moderate” group are Malaysia and Singapore. Indonesia was tagged as “high” risk, while Thailand and Myanmar are in “very high” risk.

In response, Malacañang yesterday vowed to sustain its drive for a clean government.

“This relentless drive to have a clean, strong and responsive government will continue until the remainder of the President’s term,” acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said, noting that the Philippines’ rating is similar to those of more than 20 countries including Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

“While there are areas mentioned by Transparency International that need improvement, such as policymaking and financial management, which the defense and security sector will review and consider to better their mechanisms, the civil society organization acknowledged that corruption risk mitigation in the Philippines is relatively robust in military operations. We credit this to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s zero tolerance against allegations of official malfeasance,” the Palace official added.

Nograles cited Duterte’s decision to relieve numerous high-ranking military officials over alleged corruption activities at a military hospital in 2018. He added that the President dismissed 261 government officials and employees and suspended 187 others during his weekly public addresses from November 2020 to June 2021. — Alexis Romero

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