Government doing its best to address corruption, human rights

September 9, 2009 10:30 am 

MANILA, Sept. 9 — The government is seriously addressing concerns on corruption and human rights in the country, according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Ermita stressed this today in reaction to reports that the Philippines dropped in rank from 71 to 87 in The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010 prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

WEF, an independent, international organization incorporated as a Swiss non-profit foundation, ranked 133 economies and cited corruption, inefficient bureaucracy, inadequate infrastructure and policy instability as top problem areas in the annual study.

Ermita, who heads the New Millennium Challenge Task Force to curb corruption in the country, said in a press briefing that the Arroyo administration is doing its best to address these issues.

The task force makes regular report to Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), a United States government corporation designed to work with some developing countries such as the Philippines.

MCC believes that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom and investments in people. MCC will decide by the end of the year whether or not the Philippines will qualify for the Millenium Challenge Account (MCA) or compact aid.

Ermita added that in the three meetings the task force conducted, it asked the heads of the judiciary, the presiding justice of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, the court administrators of the Supreme Court, and the Ombudsman and asked them to hasten the investigation on corruption cases.

The Executive Secretary said that there have been convictions on the corruption cases.

Based on Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) data, the annual conviction rate of erring government personnel rose by almost 60 percent in 2007 from only six percent in 1987 when PAGC was created.

From January to June 2007, PAGC was able to resolve a total of 66 cases. Of these cases, 31 or 46.97 percent carried punitive recommendations and 35 or 53.03 percent carried non-punitive recommendations.

The 66 resolved cases involved 92 respondents. Imprisonment was recommended for 41 cases.

The number of cases against the so-called "big fish" charged before the Sandiganbayan also rose from 124 in 2004 to 336 in 2005 and 512 in 2006 or an 89 percent increase.

“And we are succeeding, I think, with some positive remarks coming from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Patuloy naman ang efforts natin na ito to address corruption (We continue our efforts to address corruption),” Ermita said. (PNA)



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