CitizenWatch Philippines on Saturday warned that electing corrupt politicians into office will prevent the economy from growing fast and hurt Filipino consumers.
Citing data from the World Bank, CWP Convenor Hannah Viola said countries with a low level of corruption are three times more prosperous than countries with a high level of corruption such as the Philippines.
“Corrupt practices such as allowing companies to win rigged contracts leads to excessive expenditure and substandard projects that eventually results in expensive cost and services that consumers have to shoulder,” Viola said
The group quoted Elvin Mirzayev, head of investment at GrowthTrend Partners LP, as saying that “many emerging economies suffer from a high level of corruption that slows their overall development.”
CWP said the whole economy suffers as a corrupt economy allocates smaller funds for basic services such as education and healthcare.
In the Philippines, the group said high corruption levels severely restrict the efficiency of businesses as extensive bribery and vague and complex laws make foreign companies vulnerable to extortion and manipulation by public officials.
Viola said the legislative framework in the Philippines for fighting corruption is scattered and is not effectively enforced by law enforcement agencies.
The World Economic Forum: Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 showed the inefficient government bureaucracy was the most problematic factor for doing business in the Philippines.
The report also noted that diversion of public funds, as well as favoritism in the decisions of public officials, was very common.
Meanwhile, Bertelsmann Foundation’s Transformation Index 2016 found that civil servants in the country did not have the resources or abilities to fulfill their tasks free from corruption and red tape.
CWP said amid these corrupt practices in the country, Filipinos still believe in the importance of accountability and trustworthiness in public office, as reflected by the results of a recent Social Weather Stations survey.
A quarter of Filipino voters seek senatorial candidates who “will not be corrupt,” an SWS survey conducted on Dec. 16 to 19, 2018 showed.
The fourth-quarter survey commissioned by Stratbase ADR Institute showed that “will not be corrupt” topped the list of qualities that Filipino voters look for in a senatorial candidate.
“We, at CitizenWatch Philippines, echo the same public sentiment as we stand for accountability and trustworthiness in public office. No less than the Philippine Constitution highlights this importance,” CitizenWatch said.
“As we move towards the peak of the election season, CitizenWatch Philippines advocates for candidates who possess the competence, utmost integrity, and trust to lead our country back in the right direction. We appeal to all voters to reject corruption and elect leaders based on their proven track record of competence, and most of all, leaders we can truly trust,” CWP said.