Vico Sotto among Bidenâs anti-corruption champions
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has been honored by the US Department of State as one of the recipients of its International Anti- Corruption Champions Award. The award aims to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage and impact in preventing, exposing and combating corruption.
STAR/ File

Vico Sotto among Biden’s anti-corruption champions

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The US State Department has chosen Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto as one of the International Anti-Corruption Champions, a recognition given to leaders and innovators who have benchmarked their work on combatting corruption.

Sotto was among the 12 awardees recognized for demonstrating “leadership, courage and impact in preventing, exposing and fighting corruption.”

“He is a standard bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office,” the US State Department said.

Citing Sotto’s electoral victory in 2019 over a 27-year-long political dynasty, the agency noted his policies intended to reduce bribery in contract awarding, measures preventing kickbacks, establishment of around-the-clock public information and complaints hotline as well as democratizing budget and policymaking by involving civil society groups in these processes.

The mayor was also cited for his work as a city councilor in legislating a freedom of information ordinance that allowed residents and the press to obtain documents “without having to provide a justification.”

“Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance,” the US State Department said.

The State Department launched the award this year in reiterating the US government’s commitment under the Biden administration to combat corruption globally.

The other awardees are Ardian Dvorani (Albania), Diana Salazaar (Ecuador), Sophia Pretrick (Micronesia), Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro (Guatemala), Ibrahima Kalil Gueye (Guinea), Anjali Bhardwaj (India), Dhuha Mohammed (Iraq), Bolot Temirov (Kyrgyzstan), Mustafa Adbullah Sanalla (Libya), Francis Kaifala (Sierra Leone) and Ruslan Ryaboshapka (Ukraine).

“I commend the dedication of these 12 brave leaders to these same ideals. They inspire us and so many of their counterparts pursuing these ideals around the world,” State Secretary Anthony Blinken said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson lauded Sotto, describing him as “the bright beacon of the land.”

“At least we have a good reason not to give up hope for our beloved country. As one successful businessman told me - for the longest time, our country is like a boat full of holes that doesn’t sink only because we keep bailing the water out. Nobody has thought of bringing it to a dry dock for repairs,” Lacson said in a tweet.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. said he was proud of Sotto’s feat. – Pia Lee-Brago, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ghio Ong

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