Press Release
October 18, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said future US government assistance to the Philippines has been compromised by findings that the Arroyo Administration failed this year international standards for curbing corruption set by the US government-funded Millennium Challenge Corp. "This is a big slap on the integrity of the government and will definitely adversely affect international confidence in the Arroyo Administration," Roxas said.

He said this is indicative of the Arroyo Administration's mishandling of good governance issues in particular and its approach to national policies in general as shown by the sloppy negotiation of the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front junked recently by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, its failure to respond effectively to the global financial crisis and its tolerance and even encouragement of patently illegal use of government resources and authority.

"We need this like a nail on the head at this time when investments and political support are indispensable to our capacity to weather the looming global economic crisis," he added.

The Washington D.C.-based Center for Global Development said in a report released on September 28, 2008 that the Philippines failed this year the so-called "control of corruption" indicator set by the MCC for the first time in three years, preceded by a consistent drop in its corruption ratings since the US aid corporation gave the Philippines in July 2006 a $21-million grant to help fight corruption.

"(The Philippines') score dropped sharply in the last two years - falling from the 76th percentile two years ago, to the 57th percentile last year (2007), to the 47th percentile this year," the CGD report stated.

The CGD noted that the drop in the Philippines' corruption ratings "coincided" with the implementation of the $21-million program, which requires strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman and strengthening enforcement within three areas of the Department of Finance (DOF) -- the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The think-tank noted that the Philippines' dismal effort to curb corruption in government puts the US government at an "awkward" position especially since the MCC declared the Philippines eligible for US government development grants six months ago.

Put up in 2004, the MCC provides financial assistance to help push development and reduce poverty in developing countries like the Philippines, which has been working on becoming eligible for this assistance since MCC was put up by the US government in response to international calls for bigger US involvement in global development initiatives.

"The (MCC) Board raised concern over the fragility of the Philippines' control of corruption score during the FY2008 selection round, which now appear to have been justified," the CGD report stated.

Roxas said "this only confirms what people know hear and feel about the shady transactions of this government and the deeply entrenched corruption in several government agencies." "Instead of shaping up because of its bad governance record as the end of President Arroyo's term in 2010 nears, the Administration appears to be concentrating on ways to prolong its stay in power through an unacceptable Charter Change project. We cannot accept this," the Liberal Party president said.

News Latest News Feed