Freeman Cebu Business

Let’s join Marcos in fighting corruption in 2024!

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry Schumacher - The Freeman

I was pleased to read about President Marcos Jr’s recent statement, that he and his administration will fight corruption in 2024.

Let’s agree that there is plenty of resourcefulness out there to redefine and reinvent corruption. It is therefore essential that the private sector joins the President to create the needed change as it will benefit all of us.

The obvious question is: Why does corruption survive? Its survival depends upon four conditions:

The first condition necessary for the emergence and re-emergence of corruption is that there be rents associated with government’s regulatory powers.

The second condition requires that corrupt bureaucracies be somewhat independent within the remaining (if honest) administrative structure of the government. External controls of the bureaucracy – whether imposed by the remainder of the administrative system or by society at large – must be weak. I still would love to see that digitalization in government will make a difference.

The third condition requires the public institutions controlling corruption be weak and ineffective. These institutions include civic groups that exert moral pressures, political parties and the media that could expose the wrongdoing, and the legal system that would have the authority to prosecute and punish the guilty (in the Philippines, the poor have to go to jail but the rich can easily get away or delay processes). Impunity and corruption are going hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, that’s the truth. Powerful perpetrators involved in corruption can too often stymie enforcement against them by interfering with the justice system. Furthermore, investigations are complex, take ‘ages’, and are expensive. Unfortunately, this country is Number One in the world when it comes to impunity. In corruption, the Philippines is Number? You tell me your estimate.

The fourth condition is a lack of whistleblower protection. It is obvious that strange deals between government and the private sector and private sector to private sector (price fixing, collusion in biddings, bribing technical and purchasing staff, etc.) will only become known if people inside those organizations become whistleblowers.

The pain, corruption creates can be divided into four categories: political, economic, social and environmental.

Allow me to focus on one ‘pain’ only:

Socially, corruption is exploitive. Inequality breeds corruption by:

• leading ordinary citizens to see a system as stacked against them;

• creating a sense of dependency among ordinary citizens and a sense of pessimism for the future, which in turn undermines the moral dictates of treating everybody honestly; and

• distorting the key institutions of fairness in society, the courts, which ordinary citizens see as their protectors against evildoers, especially those with more influence than they have.

And remember, Integrity starts with I – meaning YOU.

Let me close by saying: You are the final authority. Not the government. Not the president. You. The anti-corruption ball is clearly in your court.

Let’s agree to kill corruption jointly with the President and his administration! As I have said many times before, corruption hurts the poor and the vulnerable. President Marcos Jr. said that his policy is ‘to continue social programs for the poor and the vulnerable’! Let’s kill corruption jointly.



Feedback is highly welcome – contact me at [email protected]

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