MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino said he wants the Philippines’ ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index to further improve, vowing to continue with his reforms against poverty and corruption.
“Transparency International, for example, cited an improvement in government service and the cutting of red tape as the reasons behind our steadily improving rankings in their Corruption Perceptions Index.
"In 2008, we were ranked at 141st; and we have progressed to 134th in 2010, and to 129th in 2011. Of course we should not stop until we go below 100 and further than that,” Aquino said in his speech during the international conference organized by the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG).
He pointed out that corrupt officials remain and asked the public to help in eradicating corruption.
“Clearly, our reforms have won us momentum. And it is up to us, to all of us—whether in the private or public sector—to maintain this momentum. There remain serious challenges ahead. The problem of poverty is one that must be solved. There are still corrupt officials who will be prosecuted and jailed. The changes we envision are massive, and these changes cannot be enacted by a single office. We have to do it together,” he said.
He explained why he has adopted his two-pronged goal to fight poverty and corruption. He said that the widening gap between the rich and the poor has led to political turmoil in other parts of the world, adding that it is important to ensure everyone a “fair share of responsibilities and benefits” to keep “social cohesion.”
“This is precisely why our administration focuses on inclusive growth and anti-corruption, in particular. If we ensure that growth is inclusive, from those in the center to those in the margins of society, then all of us will feel that we have a stake in keeping society moving forward, and will do our fair share to make sure that this happens,” Aquino said.
He enumerated what his administration has done towards this end, including the enrolment of more families in the government’s conditional cash transfer program and the expansion of PhilHealth coverage.
“We have raised the number of Filipinos registered in PhilHealth, from 74 percent in 2010, to 82 percent today. And this is with the goal of having every Filipino registered by the time I step down in 2016,” he said.
Peace talks with rebel groups and reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM )will also help the government achieve its goal to have “inclusive growth.”
“We have synchronized the ARMM elections with national elections—to foster genuine political competition, authentic choices for voters, and to eliminate the idea of the ARMM as a vote bank for those who want to buy and sell votes wholesale to affect the outcomes of the polls. This is why we have released 8.59 billion pesos worth of projects in that region, so that the people there can finally feel what it is like to have a government that actually works for them,” he said.
He asked the delegates of the conference to help the public’s mindset about government officials not as “provider for solutions but rather as the enabler of solutions.”
“How do we transform not just our officials but also our populace—to looking at their officials not just as the provider for solutions but rather as the enabler of solutions. Partnerships like this will undoubtedly bring us to our dreams closer and faster,” he said.