HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK ...

SPEECH OF PRESIDENT NOY AQUINO AT APEC 2015 PH NATIONAL LAUNCH

One week from now, we will be demonstrating the 1000% effort—the first visitors for APEC 2015 will set foot in our country, and the Philippines will have the distinct privilege of hosting the next chapter in one of the largest joint efforts to improve trade and cooperation amongst major economies. Here, within our communities, leaders from government and the private sector will map out the future of the Asia-Pacific. This gathering’s significance is magnified when one considers that, in a world where many economies are reeling from uncertainty, Asia-Pacific economies have, for the large part, sustained a relatively good level of growth. In fact, Southeast Asia in particular has been identified as one of the world’s most promising regions. It is for this reason that the Philippines has chosen to orient this year’s APEC towards making certain that this growth has tangible effects on the lives of all our peoples. This explains our theme: “Building inclusive economies, building a better world.” I am confident that, with our country’s remarkable turnaround in recent years, our story and our experiences can certainly enrich the discussions on this topic. READ FJULL SPEECH...

ALSO: ‘Aquino govt is most corrupt’ --Reform Council 

PHOTO: Former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad delivers speech during the Transformation Council Declaration held in Angeles City. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN --Reform council launches PNoy-Resign movement --CLARKFIELD, Pampanga: CALLS for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down and “peacefully relinquish” his post grew louder on Wednesday as more people joined the National Transformation Council (NTC) bandwagon for reform, including the President’s own uncle and aunt, Jose “Peping” and Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco. Although Aquino’s uncle failed to attend the NTC assembly in the former US airbase due to a prior commitment, Margarita stood in for her husband and expressed support for the reforms being espoused by the NTC. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: PNoy tells Abad, Congress: Comply with SC rulings, give courts budgetary support 

After months of openly assailing the Supreme Court, President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday took a more diplomatic tone towards the judiciary. During an event in Malacañang attended by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Aquino told Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Congress leaders to comply with all SC rulings. The President even pushed for greater budgetary support for the judiciary. “Bago natin makalimutan, Butch [Abad], I hope you took note of the budgetary requirements of the judiciary. They should be attended to,” Aquino said in his speech during the second conference review of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: More ‘pork’ scammers will be jailed– vows Aquino 

PHOTO: BATTLE VS CORRUPTION President Benigno Aquino 3rd receives a copy of the Second State Conference Resolution from Executive Secretary and United Nations Convention against Corruption Inter-Agency Committee Chairman Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales at Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace on Tuesday. As a State party, the Philippines is obliged to implement preventive and punitive anti-corruption measures, including asset recovery. MALACAÑANG PHOTO --PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday vowed that more charges will be filed and more personalities will be jailed in connection with the pork barrel scam, stressing that previous charges already in the courts comprise only the “initial” cases.
“We should emphasize: These are only the initial cases filed; more will come once the necessary evidence is assembled,” Aquino said in a speech during the 2nd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Uncac) in Malacañang. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Philippines’ corruption perception ranking up 

The Philippines ranked 85th out of 175 countries in a global survey on corruption perception this year, improving by nine notches from its rank a year ago. The “Corruption Perceptions Index” released by Transparency International showed that the Philippines got a score of 38, just like India, Peru and Thailand. The scoring was based on corruption perception in the surveys it conducts worldwide. The scores range from 1 or “very clean” to 100 or “highly corrupt.” READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: PH among 11 countries listed 

CONTRARY to popular belief, corruption isn’t the scourge solely of developing countries like the Philippines.In fact, two-thirds of bribes paid by businesses to foreign public officials took place in countries with medium to very high human development index, including the most developed economies, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on foreign bribery. “Bribes are being paid across sectors to officials from countries at all stages of economic development,” the OECD Foreign Bribery Report, the first of its kind, said. The OECD report, which probed the who, what, why, where and how of foreign bribery, identified the Philippines as among 11 countries in Asia where public officials received bribes in international business transactions and became the subject of investigations under the OECD’s anti-bribery convention. READ FU;; REPORT...

ALSO: Aquino says lobbying for SC budget not a bribe

Malacañang yesterday came to the defense of President Aquino, after he called for the increase in the judiciary’s budget, which call was greeted by a flood of criticisms that alluded to Aquino’s motives, one of which was to sway the Supreme Court (SC) into issuing a favorable decision not only on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agree-ment (EDCA) but, more importantly, also the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which is currently up for a final decision on the Palace’s motion for consideration. It was after the announcement of Aquino for him and his budget secretary to ensure that the SC is given the needed funds for the judicial branch to institute the so-called reforms in its branch of government, that the high court, which was scheduled last Tuesday to rule on the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) the Executive Branch had filed before the high tribunal on the DAP was suddenly not ruled upon.READ FULL REPORT...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III At the APEC 2015 Philippines national launch [Delivered in Makati City on December 1, 2014]


SCREENGRAB

MANILA, DECEMBER 8, 2014 (GOV.PH) One week from now, we will be demonstrating the 1000% effort—the first visitors for APEC 2015 will set foot in our country, and the Philippines will have the distinct privilege of hosting the next chapter in one of the largest joint efforts to improve trade and cooperation amongst major economies. Here, within our communities, leaders from government and the private sector will map out the future of the Asia-Pacific.

This gathering’s significance is magnified when one considers that, in a world where many economies are reeling from uncertainty, Asia-Pacific economies have, for the large part, sustained a relatively good level of growth.

In fact, Southeast Asia in particular has been identified as one of the world’s most promising regions. It is for this reason that the Philippines has chosen to orient this year’s APEC towards making certain that this growth has tangible effects on the lives of all our peoples.

This explains our theme: “Building inclusive economies, building a better world.” I am confident that, with our country’s remarkable turnaround in recent years, our story and our experiences can certainly enrich the discussions on this topic.

Since our administration took office, the Philippines has undergone a significant transformation. Guided by the belief that an empowered private sector is the best engine for growth, we have worked in constant pursuit of a macroeconomic environment more conducive for investments.

Today, the major fiscal foundations are in place, and will help to attract even more businesses to set up shop and expand in the Philippines. The world’s major credit ratings agencies have manifested their confidence in us by unanimously granting us investment grade ratings last year.

We have reason to believe that there is more to come: In a conversation I had with the CEO of Moody’s, he told me that it was very rare for a country to receive a credit ratings upgrade together with a positive outlook. This is all happening at a time when these same credit ratings agencies are being more conservative with their assessments. These developments have resulted in lower interest rates for private sector companies, and longer terms that were not available in the past.

Perhaps the revitalization of our business environment can best be seen in the progress of our Public-Private Partnership Program.

So far, during our term, we have been able to award and sign off on eight solicited PPP Projects, for a total value of P62.6 billion or $1.3 billion. This is more than the six PPP projects completed by the past three administrations combined. On top of this, as opposed to the past, when the Philippines had to offer tremendous incentives onerous to the people just to entice companies to participate in the process, now we are being offered large premiums by companies just so that they can build the infrastructure we need, because of their confidence in the potential for profit.

This renewed confidence in the Philippines has been very apparent in the global community. Since 2010, we have improved 33 places in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, 49 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, and 40 places in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, among many others.

The economic numbers justify their confidence. For instance, from 2010 to 2013, GDP growth has been recorded at an average of 6.3 percent. Compare this to 2006 to 2009, when the average was only at 4.3 percent.

On top of this, despite the many challenges we have had to face, GDP growth over the first three quarters of 2014 has remained strong at 5.8 percent, with manufacturing continuing to be one of the main contributors. On average, growth since 2010 has been more industry- and investment-driven, as opposed to the past, when growth was disproportionately reliant on remittance-driven consumption.

Today, we see a stark change as investments continue to flow in, widening the horizon of opportunities, empowering our domestic consumer base, and helping us grow more resistant to shocks in the global economy.

Of course, true success cannot be measured by these numbers and distinctions alone. Rather, it can be seen in how these gains have become meaningful to our people. After all, the only real growth is inclusive growth, which has been the north star of all our government’s initiatives. It is this principle, for example, that has guided our massive investment in our Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

Over the course of our administration, we have more than quintupled the scope of this program, going from just around 800,000 household beneficiaries to more than four million today. The deal is simple: the government will provide poor families with a monthly cash grant, in exchange for pregnant mothers undergoing regular health check-ups, and children being sent to school, among others.

This 2014, we actually expanded this program to include even families with children of high school age, as studies have shown that high school graduates earn significantly more than those who only finish at a grade school level.

This dovetails seamlessly with our efforts to improve education. As more and more children are attending school, we are making sure that the quality of education they receive is improved. Since our administration began, the budgets of our Department of Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority have been substantially increased.

Last year, we ended the inherited resource gaps that have long stunted the development of our education sector. A look at the magnitude of the backlogs only emphasizes the achievement of Education Secretary Armin Luistro: 66,800 classrooms, 61.7 million textbooks, and 2.5 million school seats.

TESDA has likewise put in a marvelous performance under the leadership of Secretary Joel Villanueva. Through the Training for Work Scholarship program, we are equipping our people with the necessary skillsets to capitalize on the opportunities that are becoming increasingly available. The efficacy of this program has been greatly improved during our administration, with the general employment rate of graduates going from 28.5 percent between 2006 and 2008, to almost 70 percent in 2012. Might I add that in some industries where private sector participation in training is high, this number has reached almost 96 percent.

Interventions such as this have equipped our labor force with the skills to be more competitive, whether in the country, or in the global community. This is especially significant given that our country will be entering a demographic sweet spot next year, which means that majority of our population will be of productive working age.

This is inclusive growth: where economic progress enables the betterment of our peoples; and where those empowered peoples can open the doors wider to even greater progress, spurring a virtuous cycle of empowerment and continuous development.

More than two decades ago, when we last hosted APEC, the Philippines was considered one of the world’s most promising economies. In the span between then and now, however, there were moments when many of us wondered if our country’s potential had been completely squandered by self-serving leadership. Thankfully, the Filipino persevered.

Today, I am proud to say that, in the past four years and five months, with the help of our people, we have turned the corner. We have won back the recognition, the respect, and the confidence of the global community.

This 2015, visitors from APEC economies will witness for themselves the vibrancy of an inclusive and growing nation.

In Manila and beyond, they will have the opportunity to experience locations around our country that largely contribute to the dynamism and the rich culture of the Philippines. They will encounter our greatest resource: Our people, who are kind, compassionate, and talented beyond measure. And they will see for themselves an archipelago connected through a web of inclusiveness.

As the clamor for progress that leaves no one behind resounds the world over, the Philippines has the opportunity to set a global example of inclusivity this year.

We are rising, and will continue to rise to that challenge. Thus, I call on everyone here: Let us show the best of our country has to offer. Let us all strive to continue being a prominent example of how economic growth should be. Let us work together to show how we are building inclusive economies, and thus building a better world.

Thank you. Good evening.


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Aquino govt is most corrupt’ December 3, 2014 10:29 pm by BENJAMIN VARELA CORRESPONDENT, JOSEF T. RAMOS REPORTER AND JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER


Former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad delivers speech during the Transformation Council Declaration held in Angeles City. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Reform council launches PNoy-Resign movement

CLARKFIELD, Pampanga: CALLS for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down and “peacefully relinquish” his post grew louder on Wednesday as more people joined the National Transformation Council (NTC) bandwagon for reform, including the President’s own uncle and aunt, Jose “Peping” and Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco.

Although Aquino’s uncle failed to attend the NTC assembly in the former US airbase due to a prior commitment, Margarita stood in for her husband and expressed support for the reforms being espoused by the NTC.

Former senator Francisco Tatad, who was one of the speakers, described the Aquino Administration as the “most corrupt” in history, citing the controversies hounding the government such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) scams which, according to him, could reach as high as P1 trillion in terms of abused public funds.

Tatad stressed that Aquino should step down because his government is no longer functioning as shown by reports of persistent corruption and the rising crime wave.

Tatad said it is easy to cover up corruption because many lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives are the President’s allies.

The Manila Times interviewed the President’s uncle who confirmed that he and his wife support the NTC’s calls for reform and that he believes that a “transition government” under former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno could work.

“I’m not involved yet and I don’t know what they are doing right now but I believe reforms are needed in our government,” Cojuangco, a three-term congressman and now Philippine Olympic Committee president, told the Times.

“I believe in what they [NTC] are doing and I simply like it,” he stressed.

His remarks confirmed a Times report published on Tuesday that he had joined the clamor for the resignation of the President, along with lawyer Jose Malvar Villegas, the great grandson of Gen. Miguel Malvar. Villegas was also present during Wednesday’s gathering at Clark.

Cautious with his statements, Cojuangco Jr. said he failed to attend the event because he was at the birthday celebration of Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing. He added that major reforms in the government should be done for the people’s sake.

“Everybody is disappointed with what is happening now in the country that’s why maybe there is an ongoing movement to support the President’s resignation. But again I’ll tell you I have nothing to do with that. I can’t say anything about that issue,” he emphasized.

“In time, maybe I’ll join them.”

Also present during the NTC assembly were former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former armed forces chief Hermogenes Esperon, Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla and representatives of various religious organizations.

In a separate interview, Cojuangco’s wife said the call for Aquino’s resignation depends on the Filipino people. She echoed Tatad’s assertion that many are turning their backs on the government because of the corruption that is apparently being condoned by Malacanang.

“As a citizen and former public servant, I obey all the laws stated in our constitution, more so people in Malacañang should lead by example all citizens to obey the law and not be corrupt,” she said.

She added that there was widespread cheating during the 2010 presidential elections when she ran and lost as a senator under the Nacionalista party, a rival of the Liberal Party.

Mrs. Cojuangco claimed that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines were pre-programmed in favor of candidates who offered the biggest amount to the Commission on Elections.

“My husband [Peping] has worked with many IT [information technology] specialists and we will soon divulge the cheating they have done by using the PCOS machines,” she said.

She was similarly cautious in answering questions related to the calls for her nephew to step down.

“I never asked for him to step down. But the conscience of many Filipinos for the truth will be awakened and I am sure they will join this movement. Then it is up to the people of Malacañang whether they would step down,” she said.
Villegas told The Times that the fight involves the elimination of all types of pork barrel funds such as the PDAF and DAP and that their struggle would be “non-violent.”
“We will do our best to awaken the conscience of the President for him to decide for himself whether he will step down or not. If he does, he will leave a good legacy,” said Villegas, founding chairman of the Citizens’ Crime Watch.

In its banner story on Tuesday, the Times reported that former congressman Cojuangco had joined a movement to establish a “transition government” that will be headed by Puno to support the call of the NTC for the country’s incumbent president to step down.

The group of Villegas intends to gather 10 million signatures nationwide to support the call for the President’s resignation.

Cojuangco is the older brother of late former President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino, the mother of Benigno 3rd and wife to assassinated former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

In August this year, Arguelles hosted the Lipa assembly and called on Aquino to quit immediately.

Another assembly was held in Cebu on October 1, and this time, a statement was issued urging the NTC to pursue “all necessary and available lawful means” to compel the President to step down at the soonest possible time and to “immediately organize an alternative government, consisting of men and women of integrity and proven worth.”


FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

PNoy tells Abad, Congress: Comply with SC rulings, give courts budgetary support By ANDREO CALONZO,GMA NewsDecember 2, 2014 11:21am 941 14 0 989 Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Supreme Court (Updated 2:14 p.m.)

After months of openly assailing the Supreme Court, President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday took a more diplomatic tone towards the judiciary.

During an event in Malacañang attended by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Aquino told Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Congress leaders to comply with all SC rulings.

The President even pushed for greater budgetary support for the judiciary.

“Bago natin makalimutan, Butch [Abad], I hope you took note of the budgetary requirements of the judiciary. They should be attended to,” Aquino said in his speech during the second conference review of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

“Since the approving authority is present also, perhaps we can talk to them for the speedy inclusion of what is necessary to help the judiciary in our common fight against corruption, making sure that we are complaint with all the directives from them,” the President added.

For the past months, Aquino has been criticizing the high court for striking down certain acts under his administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

The executive already appealed the SC ruling against the DAP, but a report on The Manila Times earlier this week said the high court is likely to junk this appeal.

Funds for judiciary’s modernization

In a speech during the same event, Sereno called on the administration to increase funding for the SC’s efforts to modernize the judiciary.

The chief magistrate said the automation of court processes can help lessen human intervention, which she said serves as breeding ground for corruption in the judiciary.

“We continue to push for the modernization of our courts and the automation of our processes. We strongly believe that technology can be an effective anti-corruption tool as it minimizes the areas of human intervention,” Sereno said.

“Such initiatives require funding, and that is the reason why we continue to appeal for additional budgetary support,” she added.

The chief justice also enumerated efforts undertaken by the SC to modernize the judiciary, such as the issuance of electronic subpoenas and live streaming of court proceedings.

Drilon: No more pork in 2015 budget

Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, maintained during the event that Congress is strictly complying with the SC’s ruling against the graft-tainted Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as the “pork barrel.”

“There is no more PDAF in the 2015 budget. Legislators will have no hand in the implementation once the budget is signed,” Drilon said in a speech during the same event.

Sereno was seen smiling when Drilon made this assurance.

Aquino, for his part, vowed to prosecute more lawmakers and government officials involved in alleged PDAF misuse.

Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada are currently detained while facing plunder and graft cases in connection with the alleged PDAF scam.

“We should emphasize: these are only the initial cases filed. More will come once the necessary evidence is assembled,” the President said.

Aquino further said that he is studying the possibility of issuing an executive order institutionalizing an “integrity management program” in all levels of government to combat corruption.

The Philippines is one of the 173 countries which signed the UNCAC, an international anti-corruption treaty. The Philippine Senate ratified the UNCAC in November 2006.— RSJ/KBK, GMA News


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

More ‘pork’ scammers will be jailed– vows Aquino December 2, 2014 10:13 pm
by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER


BATTLE VS CORRUPTION President Benigno Aquino 3rd receives a copy of the Second State Conference Resolution from Executive Secretary and United Nations Convention against Corruption Inter-Agency Committee Chairman Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales at Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace on Tuesday. As a State party, the Philippines is obliged to implement preventive and punitive anti-corruption measures, including asset recovery. MALACAÑANG PHOTO


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday vowed that more charges will be filed and more personalities will be jailed in connection with the pork barrel scam, stressing that previous charges already in the courts comprise only the “initial” cases.

“We should emphasize: These are only the initial cases filed; more will come once the necessary evidence is assembled,” Aquino said in a speech during the 2nd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Uncac) in Malacañang.

In his speech, the President promised that those who “conspired to steal” public funds will be made accountable.

“Prominent lawmakers, former heads of GOCCs [government-owned and -controlled corporations] and government agencies, and others in the private sector who conspired to steal from the people through the Priority Development Assistance Fund [PDAF] have been arrested and are now undergoing the appropriate processes to determine accountability,” Aquino told his audience.

He was referring to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who are now in jail in connection with alleged misuse of their PDAF or pork barrel.

Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and the lawmakers’ subordinates were similarly ordered arrested for their participation in the P10-billion PDAF racket.

In June this year, Napoles submitted affidavits containing the names of 20 senators and 100 congressmen, many of whom incumbent, who allegedly benefited from the PDAF, before it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last year.

The camp of principal witness, Benhur Luy, feared that such long list of possible respondents could drag the case for at least a decade.

Napoles’ scheme involved siphoning off PDAF to bogus non-government organizations that she herself had put up.
Aquino, also during the UNCAC meeting, said his administration has set up a budget scheme that will prevent similar abuses.

“There are new measures to speak of as well. For instance, one of the innovations we introduced in the budgeting process this year is the GAA [General Appropriations Act]-as-release-document system. Through this system, the budget serves as the release document itself the moment it is signed into law. This meant that, as soon as 2014 began, the majority of allocations were released to agencies, enabling them to begin implementing projects, thus cascading benefits down to our people, at the soonest possible time,” he explained.

The President admitted that the fight against corruption cannot be won overnight but that he has been working to “make change permanent” by continuing his legacy even after he had left Malacañang.

“With the 2016 elections not too far off, let us always remember that we are working to make change permanent, to make the commitment to good governance a commitment that lasts beyond this administration,” he said,
“We are working to rid the Philippines of the corruption that has tainted its reputation and plagued it for so long; we are working to institutionalize a legacy that finds its roots in the mindset of our countrymen, who will never again settle for anything less than true public service,” Aquino added.

The President narrated how “methodical” the “straight path” has been for him, noting that “each hindrance would have to be dismantled before we could make true progress.”

“As you may remember, the first Executive Order I signed created a Truth Commission intended to investigate allegations of graft and corruption, as the first step toward accountability. We all know unfortunately, this was blocked by the Supreme Court, which was then led by then-Chief Justice Corona. Yet we persisted.

Anomalous projects were cancelled; government-owned and -controlled corporations that were once the cash cows of a corrupt few underwent reforms. We likewise turned our attention to budget and procurement, which was significant in light of the situation we came across,” Aquino said.

He again blamed the former administration for “programs that were inefficient, wasteful or easily manipulated by the corrupt.”

“Only 6.5 percent of the 2010 budget, amounting to P100 billion, was left when this administration took office. We also inherited the proposed 2011 budget, which has to be given to Congress roughly about two months into office.

Even with these challenges, we embarked on serious reforms . . . And in 2012, we finally had the wherewithal to craft a budget, under which each peso government spent would have real and concrete benefits for the Filipino people,” Aquino said.


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Philippines’ corruption perception ranking up December 3, 2014 10:23 pm by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

The Philippines ranked 85th out of 175 countries in a global survey on corruption perception this year, improving by nine notches from its rank a year ago.

The “Corruption Perceptions Index” released by Transparency International showed that the Philippines got a score of 38, just like India, Peru and Thailand. The scoring was based on corruption perception in the surveys it conducts worldwide.

The scores range from 1 or “very clean” to 100 or “highly corrupt.”

In the Southeast Asia, the report showed that the Philippines outperformed its neighbors such as Indonesia (107th), Vietnam (119th), Laos (145th) and Cambodia and Myanmar (both at 156th).

The central bank welcomed the report, saying it recognizes the achievement of the Philippines in governance.

“The BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] is one with the government in promoting transparency and accountability, taking these guiding principles strictly in the conduct of its regulatory role over the financial sector,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.

Denmark, New Zealand and Finland are perceived to be the Top 3 least corrupt countries.

Transparency International noted that two-thirds of all countries scored below 50, indicating the need to further strengthen anti-corruption efforts across the globe.

Sudan, North Korea and Somalia were perceived to be the most corrupt.


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

PH among 11 countries listed in foreign bruibery report December 3, 2014 10:26 pm by YVONNE T. CHUA VERA FILES

CONTRARY to popular belief, corruption isn’t the scourge solely of developing countries like the Philippines.

In fact, two-thirds of bribes paid by businesses to foreign public officials took place in countries with medium to very high human development index, including the most developed economies, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on foreign bribery.

“Bribes are being paid across sectors to officials from countries at all stages of economic development,” the OECD Foreign Bribery Report, the first of its kind, said.

The report analyzed 427 foreign bribery cases law enforcers in 17 countries have successfully concluded since the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions came into force on February 15, 1999.

Forty-one states have signed the convention, which makes bribery in international business a serious crime.

The convention defines foreign bribery as “to offer, promise or give undue pecuniary or other advantage, whether directly or through intermediaries, to a foreign public official, for that official or for a third party, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in relation to the performance of official duties, in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage in the conduct of international business.”

The OECD report, which probed the who, what, why, where and how of foreign bribery, identified the Philippines as among 11 countries in Asia where public officials received bribes in international business transactions and became the subject of investigations under the OECD’s anti-bribery convention.

Other Asian countries listed in the report were Bangladesh, China and Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Allegations of foreign bribery had rocked the Philippines in recent years. In 2007, the National Broadband Network deal was canceled over charges of corruption in the awarding of a $329-million contract to China’s ZTE.

The Czech ambassador to the Philippines has accused Metro Rail Transit 3 officials of trying to secure a bribe from a Czech company for expansion of the rapid transit system traversing EDSA.

The 45-page OECD report found that bribes were paid to corner public procurement contracts in 57 percent of the cases and clear customs procedures in 12 percent.

Three of five companies whose representatives bribed foreign public officials were large firms with more than 250 employees, it said.

In more than half the cases, corporate management, including the CEO, paid or authorized the bribe, according to the report. This finding, it said, shatters the “rogue employee myth” and raises the need for a “clear ‘tone from the top’” in enforcing corporate anti-bribery policies.

Two in three of the foreign bribery cases took place in four sectors–extractive, 19 percent; construction, 15 percent; transportation and storage, also 15 percent; and information and communication, 10 percent.

The report said bribes were coursed through intermediaries in three out of four cases. Of these, 41 percent went through agents such as local sales and marketing agents, distributors and brokers and 35 percent through “corporate vehicles” that include subsidiary companies, local consulting firms, companies in offshore financial centers or tax havens or companies formed for the public official who got the bribes.


FROM THE TRIBUNE

Aquino says lobbying for SC budget not a bribe Written by Joshua L. Labonera Thursday, 04 December 2014 00:00

Malacañang yesterday came to the defense of President Aquino, after he called for the increase in the judiciary’s budget, which call was greeted by a flood of criticisms that alluded to Aquino’s motives, one of which was to sway the Supreme Court (SC) into issuing a favorable decision not only on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agree-ment (EDCA) but, more importantly, also the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which is currently up for a final decision on the Palace’s motion for consideration.

It was after the announcement of Aquino for him and his budget secretary to ensure that the SC is given the needed funds for the judicial branch to institute the so-called reforms in its branch of government, that the high court, which was scheduled last Tuesday to rule on the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) the Executive Branch had filed before the high tribunal on the DAP was suddenly not ruled upon.

The general public saw this move of the President as a bribe to get the SC to give the DAP ruling on the MR a favorable ruling which, critics said, had been accepted by the SC by not issuing a ruling on that day.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday said Aquino’s move will also help the interdependence of the three branches — the realization that at certain points, their role is to intersect with each other,” Lacierda said in a text message to the media.

Lacierda noted that even before Aquino spelled out the details of the Judiciary’s budget, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already included the SC’s request for a P715-million “e-government fund” in the supplemental budget it has requested from Congress.

Aquino, during his speech in Malacañang in relation to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), called out Budget secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, telling him that he should ensure that the judiciary gets budgetary support to help eradicate corruption.

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, who was also present in the event, is seeking the modernization of the judiciary to speedily resolve cases, and lessen the possibility of errors in the courts’ decisions.

But Aquino’s wish list for Congress and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to provide the necessary budget for the Judiciary may not come easy especially as the money measure is now already under deliberations by the bicameral conference committee.

“We may just be short of time since we are already in the bicam stage for t he 2015 budget,” said Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance committee.

The bicameral conference committee that will work to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the proposed P2.6 trillion general appropriations bill is scheduled for deliberation after the Senate’s passage of the measure on second and third reading Wednesday last week.

Following the President’s pronouncements, referring to his and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s lobbying for additional funds to the Judiciary during Tuesday’s anti-corruption conference, Escudero said he has not received any word on the matter from the Executive Department.

“Can this (additional judiciary budget) still be done, since the bicam (conference meeting) is already scheduled today? We need details on where these funds will be spent. But we are open on the issue. In fact we have revisions and amendments that have already been submitted to us from different agencies, but nothing from them (Palace).

“We have not received any call from Malacañang on this judiciary budget. We have not received any notice, any letter on this,” said Escudero.

Nonetheless, Escudero said there’s still a chance of providing the Judiciary its budgetary requirements through the proposed supplemental budget now pending in the House of Representatives.

“If they want to inlcude this, or they need to have this included, this can be incorporated in the supplemental budget,” he said.

This early, the Senate finance chairman said it would take more than one day to deliberate on the final form of the budget bill considering the several contentious issues that the two panels will have to thresh out.

“There are many provisions that we need to discuss, consult with our respective members. So I think the proposals will be laid out tomorrow at the very least. We will try to agree where we can agree. The balance can be done the following days,” he said, adding that it will probably take two to three meetings in time for the scheduled approval of the national budget Wednesday next week.

But as far as the budget of the Judiciary is concerned, the Senate version provided for the Information Communications Technology (ICT) program but not the entire P3.9 billion allocation sought by the Supreme Court to bankroll its implementation.

“We gave them (SC) some special provisions, but we have not given the full budget for the ICT, as this will be rolled out in three years. However, if they have a proposal we can study this although we have not received any proposal for 2015 budget,” he said.

“We already put out a roll out fund of some P791 million. But this is not the full amount of funds that the SC needs for three years,” Escudero said.
Angie M. Rosales


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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