Press Release
January 31, 2013

Opening address
GOPAC Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption 2013
31 January 2013 | PICC Senator
Edgardo J. Angara

Vice Chair, Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)
President, South East Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC)

H.E. President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, H.E. Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., GOPAC Chair Dr. Naser Al-Sane, Excellencies of the diplomatic corps, fellow parliamentarians, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

To begin, we express our profound gratitude to the country's highest national political leaders--the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House--for their unequivocal support to this fateful gathering.

President Aquino no less noted the unflattering tag our country once carried--the "Sick Man of Asia," a nation that could not seem to sustain genuine economic takeoff, a country deeply mired in corruption and corrosive politics.

But things have been turning around. The world has taken notice of a purposeful and deliberate transformation. To us, this conference is a rare opportunity to showcase our progress, as well as our commitment to deal with one of the most compelling issues of our time.

For decades, the United Nations has strived to come up with a variety of small instruments to battle corruption,1 until in 2003 universal consensus emerged when the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) was signed and came into force in 2005.

The UNCAC became the first legally binding and internationally accepted anti-corruption instrument. The Philippines was among the first signatories of the UNCAC, and among the first in the ASEAN to ratify the treaty.

Prior to this, corruption was an indelicate word, a phenomenon rarely condemned, and even occasionally tolerated, internationally.

The times have dramatically changed since. In many places around the world, people have increasingly clamored for a better life, a better economy, a better government. In one word, good governance is humanity's shared aspiration.

Corruption in business today has taken on scale and sophistication of unforeseen destructive force. Powerful bankers manipulating and rigging interest rates (LIBOR) and giant investment houses knowingly selling in the international bond market toxic sub-prime mortgages to unsuspecting buyers have caused global recession and wrecked some economies.

We, parliamentarians, have a huge part to play. Unfortunately, the institution people perceive to be most affected by corruption is the political party. And to a certain extent, parliament.

By coming together, we demonstrate we are able to cleanse our own ranks and are not afraid to face the challenge. We are prepared to show the strong political will that is our strongest weapon against corruption.

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