MANILA - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is the most corrupt among 36 government institutions, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The survey showed that the BOC had a negative sincerity net rating, meaning the number of respondents who said they believe the bureau was insincere in fighting corruption outnumbered those who said it was sincere.
The BOC had a "very bad" net rating of -55, though it increased from the -63 score recorded in 2013.
The survey was based on face-to-face interviews of executives of 966 companies from November 14, 2014 to May 12, 2015.
The BOC was recently stormed with complaints after it announced its plan to randomly inspect balikbayan boxes.
The bureau later said the random inspections will no longer push through following a meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and Customs chief Alberto Lina and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
The BOC was followed by five agencies with "poor" sincerity net rating: Land Transportation Office (- 26); House of Representatives (-25); Department of Public Works and Highways (-21); Philippine National Police (-16); and Department of Agriculture (-10).
According to the SWS survey, nine agencies were in the "neutral" category: Department of Budget and Management (-7); Commission on Elections (-6); Bureau of Internal Revenue (-4); Senate (-2); Department of Transportation and Communications (-2); Armed Forces of the Philippines (+4); Department of Environment and Natural Resources (+6); trial courts (+6); and Department of Interior and Local Government (+9).
Eight had a "moderate" sincerity net rating: own city government (+12); Governance Commission for Government-owned and -Controlled Corporations (+12); Presidential Commission on Good Government (+15); Department of Finance (+12); own barangay government (+19); Department of Social Welfare and Development (+24); Government Service Insurance System (+27); and Department of Health (+28).
Under the "good" category were: Department of Justice (+34); Commission on Audit (+36); Office of the Ombudsman (+36); Sandiganbayan (+37); Department of Education (+43); Civil Service Commission (+41); Supreme Court (+42); and Filipino business associations (+49).
Only five government agencies were ranked "very good" in the survey: Department of Trade and Industry (+51); Office of the President (+54); Philippine Stock Exchange (+55); Social Security System (+57); and Securities and Exchange Commission (+63).
The SWS said the survey showed that a record-low 39% of the executives said most of the companies in their line of business give bribes to win public sector contracts. The figure surpasses the previous record-low of 41% in 2012 and 2013.
Only 13% of those solicited for a bribe reported it.
The survey also revealed that a new record-low 32% said they have personal knowledge of a corrupt transaction with government in the last three months in their line of business.
Meanwhile, only 11% of the respondents said the government "often/almost always" punishes corrupt government officials, a record-low compared to 20% in 2013 and 27% in 2012.
The survey added that 90% agreed that "corruption will be reduced by the passage of a strong law on the right of the people to information from the government."
Malacañang, in a statement, welcomed the "positive news" of a new-record low 32% of business managers affirming personal knowledge of a corrupt transaction with government.
"We welcome this positive news, which affirms global perception as reflected in surveys such as Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. Under the Aquino administration, the Philippines has steadily climbed this index, from a ranking of 134th in 2010 to 85th in 2014," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
"These figures reflect the reality of our government's transformation in recent years: from one plagued by corruption and dishonesty to one that is committed to public service through Daang Matuwid," he added.
He said "daang matuwid" will stretch beyond 2016, stressing that the fruits of good governance can only be further reaped through continuity.
"The gains we have achieved only make more urgent the imperative to continue a firm policy against corruption that is geared for the benefit of our true bosses, the Filipino people," said Lacierda.