Unlike in authoritarian countries like China and Vietnam, corruption has become politicized and is openly discussed in the media of Philippines.
The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies, according to results of a regional poll of expatriate businessmen released Monday. While Singapore and Hong Kong retained their rankings as the cleanest economies, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said.
The annual survey covers only 13 economies in Asia and excludes other countries notorious for corruption, such as Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Some 1,400 expatriates were polled in January and February this year, PERC said.
Corruption remains a problem in the region despite huge economic progress made over the years, with governments generally lacking the political will to tackle the problem, the Hong Kong-based PERC said.
"The Philippines is a sad case when it comes to corruption," the consultancy said in a summary report made available to AFP.
The Philippine situation is "probably no worse than in places like Indonesia and Thailand" but corruption has become politicized and is openly discussed in the media, unlike in authoritarian countries like China and Vietnam, it said.
The Philippines scored 9.0 out of a possible 10 points under a grading system used by PERC under which zero is the best score and 10 the worst.
As in the 2007 survey, Thailand remained the second most corrupt economy after the Philippines with a score of 8.0 after the military, which seized power in a coup in 2006, was seen to have failed to tackle the problem.
"The kingdom’s economy has been marking time for two years while it sorts out political problems in which allegations of corruption figure prominently," said PERC.
Indonesia, which ranked behind Thailand with a score of 7.98, has made improvements under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono but the perception of the civil service as one prone to graft remains strong, said PERC.
"International ratings agencies might have improved Indonesia’s foreign and domestic currency debt ratings recently, citing the government’s efforts to tackle corruption… however, the problem is still very serious," said PERC.
Corruption is also perceived to have worsened in Malaysia, which scored 6.37 in the survey, worse than last year’s grade of 6.25, but the country retained its number six ranking in the poll.
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s failure to carry out his promise to fight graft was one of the key reasons his ruling coalition suffered its worst ever results during last Saturday’s elections, PERC said.
"A promise to fight corruption was the main campaign theme that won (Abdullah) a big increase in voter support in the last national elections (in 2004)," the consultancy said.
The pressure is now on Abdullah, who rejected pressure to step down despite the poll setback, to show he is serious about fighting corruption in his second term as prime minister, said PERC.
China’s score worsened to 7.98 from 6.29 last year with corruption seen to be as widespread as ever despite Beijing’s efforts to clamp down on it.
"The economy is growing so rapidly that even low-level officials are able to amass illicit fortunes.
"The penalties for getting caught might be draconian, but graft is so widespread and the potential rewards so great that people seem to be more than willing to take the risks."
Source: Global Nation fom AFP
Pic from Simon Oosterman
Now I come across this article and have added it for discussion reasons. Because its true that the openly discussed issue of corruption in the Philippines is a major one. Because its gone from people offended by it to people expecting it. Things such as the street lighting scandal, Legacy Group collapse aswell as a lot of expats being put off opening businesses here. If the corruption reduced even a little within the Philippines I could see the country changing a lot for the better. But the issue is that its now become expected and is seen everywhere. From the queue jumping for friends to immigration officials pulling people aside and offering an “express” route for a fee going all the way up to major things such as the street lighting.
Will it change? Personally I dont think it can not in my lifetime anyway. It has to change with the people who have the power and in too many cases the same people are doing the damage for profit. Its a natural occurance in politics and the U.S. and UK may preach to the world but there is a hornets nest stirring up still stemming from the Iraq war and new laws that were introduced that seem to police more of the locals within the U.S. and UK than the “believed” terrorists.. time will tell if things will change for the better but currently I think the world recession could create some dark times around the world.