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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 3, 2020
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Committed to fight against corruption

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The Philippines strongly affirmed its commitment to uphold the principles of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) during a UN conference that seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of anti-corruption bodies worldwide.

The conference, one of the world’s largest anti-corruption gatherings, reviewed the implementation of the UNCAC – the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument and discussed preventing corruption, improved international cooperation to better tackle corruption and asset recovery.

The Philippines signed UNCAC on Dec. 9, 2003 and ratified it on Nov. 8, 2006. As a state party, it is obligated to criminalize certain forms of private and public corruption; institute or strengthen corruption prevention measures; establish procedures that improve international cooperation; and set up systems for the recovery of forfeited assets.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong, who delivered the Philippines’ statement at the 8 th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the UNCAC, highlighted President Duterte’s consistent policy on “zero tolerance” against corruption and his continual calls for the public to report erring government officials.

“In the words of our President during his State of the Nation address last July – ‘Corruption exasperates. It frustrates.’ It is because of this that the Philippines has been relentless in its fight against corruption,” Ong told the conference held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He added that the Philippine legislature has enacted laws aligned with the anticorruption initiatives of the government, including the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act that aims to improve government service delivery and fight corruption.

Strong words and ratified conventions are always welcome in the fight against corruption, especially in a country that has been plundered as heavily by its leaders as the Philippines. However, the Filipinos who have seen and heard almost everything as far as corruption is concerned will need more than words of assurance from a deputy official if they are to be convinced that their government is truly committed to fight against this scourge that does more than just exasperate and frustrate.

Despite the fighting words and the occasional displays of political will, our government still has a long way to go in the fight against corruption. Too many high ranking officials accused of corruption have been set free and not enough of the officials who have been kicked out of their posts due to alleged corruption have been charged, while some have even been recycled by a government that is supposed to be the tip of the spear against it.

Hopefully this commitment made by our government to the United Nations can translate to a renewed vigor in the war against corruption in this country.*


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