By Genalyn Kabiling
Fighting corruption remains an utmost priority of the Duterte administration to prevent an abusive culture of extortion and embezzlement as well as oppression of the people, a Palace official said Monday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar affirmed the government’s commitment to sustain the anti-corruption drive in observance the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.
“Weeding out corruption in the government and in our society is an utmost priority of the Duterte administration in order for our country to progress and succeed,” he said in a statement.
“We are in agreement with the United Nations, in advocating for a fair and just society that is free from corruption as we strive to promote the welfare and development of every Filipino,” he added.
The United Nations designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003 to coincide with adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The date seeks to raise public awareness about corruption and compel governments to combat the menace that threatens democratic institutions, slows down economic progress, and contributes to governmental instability.
According to Andanar, the Duterte administration has implemented a crackdown on corruption from day one in office. He said they would continue stringent scrutiny against such anomalous transactions and acts of collusion from the national level and local governments to public-private engagements.
“The necessary mechanisms are constantly being put in place by this administration to curb it as allowing even the littlest act of corruption begets larger and bigger acts which then become the norm,” he said.
The government’s anti-corruption initiatives, Andanar said, include the creation of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, that probes officials suspected of corruption and red tape in the Executive branch; the freedom of information policy to allow public access to government records with certain exceptions; and the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
“We are doing these initiatives because corruption if left unchecked, breeds a looming, degenerative, and abusive culture of bribery, extortion, and embezzlement without any consequence,” he said.
“And if it is allowed to go on, it will oppress people’s freedoms, rights, lives, properties, and their future,” he added.
President Duterte has dismissed several government officials over allegations of corruption in recent months. He repeatedly declared his zero tolerance for corruption and red tape, saying the government must provide public service with integrity and efficiency.