The character of the country’s political governance is intimately connected to the economic well-being of the people.
This dynamic is understood by Filipinos who virtually unanimously concur that stopping, or at least controlling corruption will directly benefit everybody – that good governance will result in a faster and stronger economic revival and therefore fighting corruption should be the biggest governance handicap that must be addressed with urgency.
This is the strong sentiment reflected in the September 2022 Pulse Asia survey commissioned by the Stratbase group wherein 92 percent of nationwide respondents agree that “The government should strengthen anti-corruption laws, representatives, agencies, and collective mechanisms to implement and fulfill its international commitments to combating corruption.”
These findings were announced during the online forum held Thursday organized by think tank Stratbase ADR Institute and DemocracyWatch Philippines where the panel of speakers advocated for evidence-based good governance reforms.
Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit highlighted the importance of accountability and the Filipino value of “pananagutan” in the way government must fulfill its programs and services.
He stressed on transparency, accountability, and responsiveness as non-negotiable requisites that we as taxpayers should demand from government in delivering public services.
In the same survey, 91 percent of the respondents agree that “To effectively control corruption, government should cooperate with the different forces and groups in society like the civil society, academe, private sector, mass media, and ordinary citizens.”
This validates what governance experts and anti-corruption advocates have been pushing for in many administrations, an all of society approach to reform a corrupt prone bureaucracy.
The fundamental mandate of government institutions is to serve the people whose taxes are essentially the source of funding of these bureaucracies.
It is the duty of elected and career officials of government to ensure that disbursement of the people’s money will give optimal returns in terms of projects and services and not siphoned away by corrupt practices.
The survey also probed into the public’s view of the private sector in the context of the economy.
A total 86 percent of the respondents believe that “The private sector plays a crucial role in accelerating economic growth” and identified the top issues of creating jobs (69 percent), helping uplift the lives of Filipinos out of poverty (65 percent) and expanding livelihood opportunities (49 percent).
This again reflects the immediate concern of Filipinos still struggling from the economic disruptions of the COVID 19 pandemic which is now further compounded by record level inflation hitting hard on the purchasing power of the ordinary consumers.
Furthermore, when asked if “The government and the private sector should engage in partnership in order to sustain the country’s economic recovery,” the answer is just as prevalent with 89 percent saying they agree.
This data as a vindication of the previous President’s vilification of leading business groups that ironically was sustaining the country’s pre-pandemic growth rates and when government was caught unprepared to cope with the people’s economic shock because of the lockdowns, it was the business groups being demonized who led the private sector’s emergency relief operations that gave immediate food assistance to millions of families deprived of their daily livelihood.
Leaders of industries quickly organized and mobilized their human and financial resources to help government fight the pandemic and played a leading role in procuring vaccines and implemented many interventions which were all documented and publicly acknowledged by the government.
The findings of these surveys provide conclusive data that gives strategic guidance to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his administration.
It is clear that Filipinos are cognizant of how corruption in government directly impacts on their individual welfare as citizens.
The difficult economic landscape amplifies the need for efficiency and urgency for serious reforms that would finally plug the corruption holes of government bureaucracies.
The survey rightly recognizes the role of the private sector as an indispensable economic force that can be harnessed by building a symbiotic partnership of trust, empowerment, and a shared vision of sustainable economic recovery towards inclusive prosperity.
In pursuit of our ongoing advocacy of working together in an all-of-society approach to address the daunting challenges of the country, the Stratbase ADR Institute will host the 7th Pilipinas Conference on November 21 and 22, convening key Cabinet Secretaries, government officials, leaders of industries, the academe, the diplomatic corps, and international experts in two days of sessions that will focus on the outlook and strategies that will address the most critical problems as well as the opportunities in three key areas of development: governance, security, and the economy.
Under the theme “Onward to New Beginnings: Sustaining and Improving Philippine Development, among the esteemed roster of speakers from government are Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Environment Secretary Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga, and DFA Undersecretary Jesus Gary Domingo.
Do check out the Stratbase ADR Institute Facebook page to see the rare line-up of thought leaders and apropos issues relevant to each of us Filipinos.