NO LET  UP  IN  CAMPAIGN  AGAINST  GRAFT, SAYS  PALACE

MANILA,
SEPTEMBER 26, 2006 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - The Arroyo administration would pursue a "moral rearmament program" to boost anti-corruption efforts.

President Arroyo’s announcement came as international organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program warned of corruption’s adverse effects on anti-poverty programs, particularly in poor countries.

"We acknowledge the fact that international institutions are focusing on the specter of corruption as a threat to anti-poverty programs and the Philippines has kept pace with this priority," Mrs. Arroyo said in a speech during the 25th anniversary of the National Livelihood Support Fund.

"I have instructed we should have anti-corruption programs in place in every department and agency. We have intensified lifestyle check, especially the Department of Finance. We have also intensified less signatures to get papers moving and cutting red tape," Mrs. Arroyo said.

She said a government-sponsored competitiveness summit on Sept. 29 is aimed at eradicating bureaucratic red tape.

She also asked the NLSF to reduce requirements for those applying for micro-finance.

"Our country has a strong team-up among the independent Ombudsman, the independent Commission on Audit and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission," Mrs. Arroyo said.

"The private sector and civil society are in the loop and we are working to chip away at the culture of corruption with procedural measures, prosecution of offenders and moral rearmament programs," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo expressed appreciation for the international community’s help in curbing corruption in the country.

"We assure our partners of our unwavering determination in this regard," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said she provided funds for PAGC not only for its lifestyle checks but also for its moral rearmament programs.

She said the P1 billion she released would complement the $21 million Millennium Challenge Account granted by the United States to the Philippines for its efforts against corruption.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said under the Arroyo administration, "grafters in high levels have been removed from office even as anti graft cases continue to be filed" against erring officials.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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