MANILA, Philippines - Various personalities and reform-oriented organizations joined forces on Monday in the fight against corruption by launching a broad anti-corruption movement, Mabuting Pilipino.
The move is seen as a strong show of support for whistleblowers Heidi Mendoza and former military budget officer Col. George Rabusa, who have exposed anomalies in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Members of the Mabuting Pilipino movement said the group aims to harmonize their reform initiatives to have a cohesive fight against corruption.
They also want to “reaffirm, and nurture good Filipino citizenship values, like truth-telling, 'bayanihan, concern for fellowmen and women, and love of country.”
Mabuting Pilipino is led by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, folk singer Noel Cabangon, and (Ret.) Brigadier General Danilo Lim.
“Corruption has been so rampant in the Philippines. In the past administration, corruption happened with impunity,” the group said.
According to the group, the Office of the Ombudsman was "rendered helpless, tolerant of corrupt practices, and worse, protector of corrupt officials."
“Without sufficient pressure and vigilance from active citizens, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s legacy of corruption and plunder will continue unabated under this new political climate,” the group said.
The group also denounced the deterioration of values in society. “Due to rampant and systemic corruption, many compromised that bribery, pay-offs and patronage politics are a way of life in this country,” they said.
They cited common situations when motorists would bribe traffic enforcers when they are caught, and people would rely on fixers to facilitate government processes.
"We see a shift in our culture and values—from one that values the welfare of the common tao and the community to something that put premium to private interests over and above public good,” the group said.
Shame campaign, et cetera
Mabuting Pilipino disclosed that they will hold different activities and campaigns to combat corruption.
Among these are a series of "truth actions," campus and community cultural tours, and a shame campaign against corrupt government officials.
They will also start an "Alis Diyan" campaign targeted at Arroyo's midnight appointees.
Mabuting Pilipino will also hold a national day of action for truth and justice, and a "Bantay Merci Impeachment" campaign to vigilantly watch the impeachment proceedings that may be held for the Ombudsman.
The group will also push for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill and House Bill No. 2826 ("Silip SALN") which will allow the public access to the statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth of public officials.
Rabusa attended the launch, thanked the group for their support, and committed to help in the fight against graft and corruption.
Various individuals and organizations have joined Mabuting Pilipino, among them:
* Pepe Pestaño, father of slain navy ensign Phillip Andrew Pestaño;
* Ateneo School of Government;
* University of the Philippines College of Social Science and Philiosophy Student Council;
* Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN);
* Active Citizenship Foundation (ACF);
* People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR);
* Young Public Servants (YPS);
* LWUA Employees Association for Progress (LEAP);
* Yellow Army in Action;
* Para sa Bansa;
* Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM);
Kabalikat ng Marinero;
Movement for the Advancement of Student Power; and,
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP).