Press Release
September 30, 2010

Legarda to Southeast Asian Parliamentarians: Philippines still
in uphill climb to curb corruption

Public perception on the extent of corruption in the public sector remains high, emphasized Senator Loren Legarda in her country report delivered at the Regional Meeting of the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC) at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel today, September 30, 2010.

Legarda cited several surveys revealing that an overwhelming 77% of Filipinos believed that government efforts to curb corruption are ineffective, and the 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking the Philippines 139th among 180 countries.

"Numbers in a survey perhaps appear unrealistic, but translated into monetary terms, we realize that the cost of corruption to a developing country such as ours is indeed tremendous," Legarda said. "According to the World Bank, as much as US $ 4 billion is annually lost to corruption. This staggering amount is enough to fund 234,666 classrooms or a whole year's worth of meals for more than 2.8 million families."

In Congress, seven bills to strengthen the Anti-Plunder and Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices laws are pending, among them Senate Bill 1343 authored by Legarda for the purpose of extending the prescriptive period for filing graft cases to 30 years.

Legarda also lauded other government reforms such as the Integrity Development Action Plan of the Executive Branch intended to serve as the national anti-corruption framework, where 207 government agencies are to be assessed; the "Strengthening the Integrity of the Judiciary Project" to improve the level of public confidence in the courts; and the Integrity Development Review of the Judiciary, an initiative to eliminate opportunities for corruption among court personnel and judges.

Legarda proposed, "As parliamentarians working towards addressing shared concerns in the region, I invite your attention to consider promoting capacity building initiatives against corruption through a continuing program of best practice sharing."

"By this effort, we can share information on how countries, through legislation and programs, have addressed corruption. Beyond learning, we can find inspiration from the achievements of others," Legarda concluded.

News Latest News Feed