The Corruptional Practices in Philippines and Its Reduction
Corruption according to RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) is a host corrupt practices or abuses based on dishonesty or unethical conduct of any public officer in authority and are declared to be unlawful. Graft, a type of corruption under section 3-e of the said law, is where funds intended for public projects are intentionally misdirected in order to maximize the benefits to private interest. Graft, with considerable money of at least PHP50M involved, can go hand in hand with crimes of plunder (RA 7080) and malversation of funds (RA1060). All of which are punishable under Philippine law. This concept paper aims to identify the historical context of corruption, its causes and effects, and propose a feasible solution regarding this issue.
The Philippine Congress has been at the forefront in signing all of these anti-corruption practices into laws. The roots of graft and corruption however, comes from our own political leaders, who controls the government and has influence over the different sectors of the country. There has been so much criticism surrounding Congress due to the huge amount of discretionary funds allotted to each congressman. This fund is otherwise known as PDAF (Philippine Development Assistance Fund) or commonly known as “pork-barrel”. In the Philippines, this discretionary funds go back to the American colonial period but the word PDAF in its current form, was established during President Cory’s term in 1990 as Countrywide Development Fund. The intention of this fund was to allow legislators to fund small scale infrastructures or community projects which fell outside the scope of national infrastructure. Since then, this fund has been the center of most graft and corruption cases involving Congress. Most famous of these cases is the Napoles scam that did not only link senators but congressmen as well. Last April 15, 2019, President Duterte signed into law a national budget of PHP3.7 trillion, of which each congressman is alloted Php60M, even more, to cover specific projects from health to infrastructure.
According to Huberts, the three main causes of corruption are “norms and values of politicians and public servants, lack of control, and interrelationships between business, politics, and state” (qtd. In Hechanova et al. 63). In the country, there are politicians and public leaders who give in to greed and self-indulgence; they steal from our national funds by misappropriating the budget intended for community projects. If our leaders have the freedom to act this way, then there is a conspicuous lack of control in our legislative sector. Laws against graft and corruption aren’t enforced and properly implemented, leading to our leaders doing whatever they want and please. Moreover, if there if a lack of control in our legislative sector, then cooperation and affairs between business, politics, and state will deter and become erratic. It was stated, “legislative framework for fighting corruption is scattered and is not effectively enforced by the weak and non-cooperative law enforcement agencies” (“The Philippine Corruption Report” 1).
If these causes aren’t addressed, then corruption will remain a threat to the country. Based on Global Corruption Index, the Philippines ranks 99 out of 175 countries this year (Gagalac). It has been prevalent since the 1960s, with “approximately $410.5 billion left [the Philippines] in ‘illicit financial flows” from 1960 to 2011 (Ray 2017). From the numbers cited, most public funds intended for country wide development to stimulate the economy is used instead for personal gains by some public officials. This resulted in the country’s “low to moderate economic growth for the past 40 years” which is one of the main causes of poverty (“Poverty in the Philippines” 1). As a result, the public sector suffers as graft and corruption induces heavy taxation to many Filipinos and takes a toll on our already limited resources which are essential in building up and progressing our country. This presents the connection between graft and corruption to other wicked problems such as poverty due to a weak and unstable political foundation which oppresses the poor and the needy. Corruption is an obstacle to the democracy that Filipinos fought for during the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Moreover, it derails the country’s economic growth, and destroys social trust among humans.
Reducing corruption in the Philippines would be a complex and long-term solution which involves everyone in the Philippines. An improvement in the country’s education can be done in two aspects: implementing codes of conduct among students and helping them develop a sense of nationalism. Education should be at the forefront in fighting corruption. It should unveil the reasons behind a corrupt behavior which stems from the values inculcated through childhood. It is therefore recommended that all schools (public or private) from kinder to college adopt subject that promotes ethics and anti-corruption that instills a nationalistic attitude and a better moral values among Filipinos to stand against graft and corruption and resist the temptations of bribery. “It strengthens personal integrity and shapes the societies in which we live” (“Corruption by Topic” 1). At schools, if there is an Intercultural Week, Linggo ng Wika, and English
Corruption by means of graft in the Philippine Government, particularly in the legislative branch of Congress, has been an issue in the country which remains to be unsolved until today. The sad reality is that there are many cases within the legislative branch of Congress itself who is supposed to be in charge of making and reforming laws, especially those related to graft. According to Sander, “Legislators and other state officials can make or break policies that directly affect the educational outcomes for students” (1). Thus, education plays an essential role in the formation of the country’s next leaders and voters to increase awareness and establish a code of conduct among people.
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