Philippine Journal of Public Administration, Vol 54, No 1-2 (2010)

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Curbing Corruption in the Philippines: Is this an Impossible Dream?

Jon S.T. Quah

Abstract


This article begins by documenting the pervasive extent of corruption in the Philippines. It then identifies low salaries, red tape, low risk of detection and punishment for corrupt offenses, the importance of family and cultural values, and lack of political will as the five major causes of rampant corruption in the Philippines. The anti-corruption measures initiated by the various administrations since 1950 are analyzed and their effectiveness evaluated. The ineffectiveness of the many anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) and laws is reflected in the consistently low rankings and scores of the Philippines on Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Political Economic Risk Consultancy’s 2009 survey on corruption, and the World Bank’s 2008 control of corruption indicator. The lack of political will is responsible for the Philippines’ ineffective anti-corruption strategy which relies on overlapping, uncoordinated, and inadequately staffed and funded multiple ACAs. This article concludes that curbing corruption in the Philippines remains an impossible dream until its political leaders demonstrate that they have the political will to minimize the major causes of corruption and to relinquish their reliance on the existing ineffective multiple ACAs.

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