PH still among world's most corrupt countries: Transparency Int'l index

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2017 11:33 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2017 02:34 AM

The Philippines was judged to have a high level of government corruption in 2016, continuing the trend from the previous year.

The country garnered a score of 35 out of 100 in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, similar to its score the previous year. 

This showed that corruption in the Philippines is still seen to be widespread, tied with six other countries including Thailand and Peru.

While not yet in Transparency International's 2017 watch list, the corruption watchdog said the Philippines is in its "too soon to tell" category.

"President [Rodrigo] Duterte's dramatic rise to power in the Philippines made extensive use of anti-corruption rhetoric. Yet, the impact of death squads, attacks on media and violent intimidation to the detriment of democracy and democratic institutions is yet to be seen in 2017," the organization said.

The Philippines scored 34 in 2012, then gained 2 points in 2013 before improving by another 2 points in 2014. However, this score dropped by 3 points in 2015.

Most Asian countries including the Philippines, said Transparency International, were in the bottom half of the rankings, which can be due to "unaccountable governments, lack of oversight, insecurity and shrinking space for civil society, pushing anti-corruption action to the margins in those countries."

Among the Asian countries which got worse were Cambodia and Thailand. Cambodia was ranked the most corrupt South East Asian country for the second time in a row, as civil society there continued to be "extremely restricted," Transparency International said.

Thailand, meanwhile, worsened due to its new constitution—while it focused on addressing corruption, Transparency International claimed it also entrenched military power and unaccountable government, and undermined the eventual return of the country to democratic civilian rule. 

The kingdom, which recently gained a new monarch after the death of its previous ceremonial head of state, is currently under military rule.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, improved by 4 points. While it was still among the 10 very corrupt countries in the index, the improvement was nearly double from 2013, the organization said.

This was due to commitments by the Afghan government to address corruption, which showed some progress.

Denmark and New Zealand were considered the "cleanest" countries in the world at rank 1, garnering a score of 90. 

Singapore was the cleanest Asian country in the list, coming in at rank 7 with a score of 84.

Somalia was named the most corrupt country in the world at rank 176, with a score of 10, while North Korea was deemed most corrupt in Asia, ranked 174 with a score of 12.

The latest rankings show that corruption and inequality are closely linked, and that there is a vicious cycle between corruption, unequal distribution of power, and unequal distribution of wealth, said Transparency International.

To address society’s wrongs, people turned to populist leaders who promised to break the cycle, the watchdog said. However, this can worsen instead of resolving problems.

"The track record of populist leaders in tackling this problem is dismal; they use the corruption-inequality message to drum up support but have no intention of tackling the problem seriously," said Transparency International.