MANILA, Philippines - More Filipinos this year perceive city and municipal governments to be corrupt than in previous years, a recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows.
According to the SWS 2012 Survey on Good Local Governance released on Monday, 68 percent of Filipinos believe their city or municipal governments are corrupt.
This is higher than the 64 percent recorded in 2011 and 58 percent in 2009, when the study was first conducted.
The top three local offices where corruption is considered widespread are the Budget Office (48 percent), Mayor's Office (32 percent), and the Engineer's Office (30 percent). These were the same offices considered most corrupt last year.
Perception of NG improves
In contrast, the number of people who say the national government is corrupt decreased from 88 percent in 2009 and 84 percent in 2011 to 79 percent this year.
Other levels of government are perceived to be corrupt by fewer people this year: provincial (52 percent in 2009, 59 percent in 2011, 47 percent in 2012) and barangay (37 percent in 2009, 38 percent in 2011, 37 percent in 2012).
Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) believes perceptions of corruption in city and municipal governments are linked to their function of issuing business and other permits.
"The perception comes if there are stories or things happening," he told ABS-CBN News. "Kailangang ayusin muna ang sistema."
Panadero said the DILG has sought the help of the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman to improve city and municipal governments' system of issuing permits, and the strict implementation of the anti-red tape law.
"We are working hard on that," he said.
Corruption hurts country
Eight out of 10 Filipinos surveyed say corruption is wrong because it hurts the country.
"We want to promote this attitude because it shows that people are thinking not just about the sin or the sinner but what it does to everybody," said SWS President Dr. Mahar Mangahas.
However, more people - 48 percent agree while 37 percent disagree - believe that they cannot do anything to reduce corruption in their localities.
"This has to change over time. We need to give them the confidence that they can do something," Mangahas said.
'Very good' satisfaction ratings
Despite strong perceptions of corruption, the survey respondents gave city and municipal governments a "very good" net satisfaction rating of +59. The survey found 73 percent satisfied and 14 percent dissatisfied with their city and municipal governments.
This is higher than the net satisfaction rating of +44 in 2009, but lower than +64 last year.
The net satisfaction ratings for most key local officials and institutions went down from last year, but remained at the "very good" level.
- Governor (from +67 in 2011 to +56 in 2012)
- Mayor (from +73 in 2011 to +75 in 2012) Vice Mayor (from +68 in 2011 to +60 in 2012)
- Barangay Chair (from +70 in 2011 to +63 in 2012)
- City/Municipal Council (from +61 in 2011 to +57 in 2012)
- City/Municipal Police (from +53 in 2011 to +54 in 2012)
The DILG, meanwhile, got a net satisfaction rating of +63, higher than last year's +48.
Veronica Hitosis, head for policy and legislation of the League of Cities, said they are taking the survey results seriously.
"It's a pat on the back that we've done something good and also a challenge that we still need to do better," she said.
Conducted from August 20 to 28 using face-to-face interviews, the survey has 1,500 respondents all over the country: 300 each in the National Capital Region, Northern and Central Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The respondents are household heads.
The Australia Agency for International Development and The Asia Foundation funded the study.