Friday, January 24, 2020

Corruption perception in Philippines worsens

Perception of corruption in the Philippines has worsened in the past year, with the country sliding 14 places to 113th in the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Berlin-based Transparency International.

The 2019 CPI released yesterday showed the country scoring 34 out of the highest possible score of 100, two points lower than the 36 points that the country obtained in 2018. Out of the 180 countries covered by the report, the Philippines dropped in ranking from 99th in 2018 to 113th last year.

This is the lowest since 2011, when the country ranked 129th out of 178 countries included in the index at the time. CPI is an annual report that ranks countries and territories based on the perceived levels of public sector corruption, based on information from experts and business people.

It uses a scale from zero to 100, in which zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. The Philippines was first included in the list in 2010, ranking 134th. It continuously improved in the succeeding years, ranking 129th in 2011, 105th in 2012 and 94th in 2013.

The country reached its highest rank in 2014 at 85th, before dropping to 95th in 2015, 101st in 2016 and 111th in 2017. In its latest index, Transparency International said a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.

“More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43. Similar to previous years, the data show that despite some progress, a majority of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively,” said the organization. Tied at first place were Denmark and New Zealand, with a score of 87, followed by Finland with 86.

In fourth place, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland tied with a score of 85, followed by Norway with 84; Netherlands with 82 and Germany and Luxembourg both with 80 to tie at 7th place.

At the bottom of the list was Somalia with nine points, followed by South Sudan with 12; Syria with 13; Yemen with 15 and Venezuela with 17. Among Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines is among the lowest at 113th spot, only performing better than Myanmar and Laos, tied at 130th, and Cambodia at 162nd.

Following Singapore (4th) are Brunei (35th), Malaysia (51st), Indonesia (85th), Vietnam (96th) and Thailand (101st). “While often seen as an engine of the global economy, in terms of political integrity and governance, the region performs only marginally better than the global average. Many countries see economic openness as a way forward; however, governments across the region, from China to Cambodia to Vietnam, continue to restrict participation in public affairs, silence dissenting voices and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny,” the report said on its assessment of the Asia-Pacific region. “Given these issues, it comes as no surprise that vibrant economic powers like China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and others continue to struggle to tackle corruption,” it added.