Urgency on the destructive nature of Philippine corruption was expressed by Deputy Ombudsman Cyril Ramos as he addressed the National Police Commission’s summit on crime prevention on Thursday, August 15th.
Gobbling US$13.15 billion or around 20 percent of the Philippines’ annual budget appropriation, culprit is the prevalence of graft in the national administration. Losing roughly P700 billion, Ramos stressed that the figure could have amounted to some 1.4 million houses for the homeless, medical subsidy for around seven million Filipinos, or a year’s supply of rice stock. Such equivalents could stop the country’s hunger strike, he claimed.
Ranking sixth in the most corrupt Asia Pacific countries, the summit gathered government agencies’ officials and community sectors representatives to discuss more effective approaches on combating criminality, including crimes of corruption, in the country.
National Police Commission Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Rogelio Casurao held that the summit’s results will help in the rationalization of the framework for crime prevention as President Rodrigo Duterte reigns over the Philippines for three more years.
Since he took office in 2016, Duterte has overseen violent responses against crime, including the killing of as many as 12,000 alleged drug users, not to mention the exclusion of all suppressed critical reports by the National Police as they enjoy impunity granted by the campaign.
With a lack of cooperation and coordination among state agencies, Casurao declared illegal drugs, robbery, and theft as the top crimes in the Philippines, aggravated by its limited resources and funds. Furthermore, Deputy Court Administrator of the Supreme Court Atty. Raul Villanueva reported the lack of prosecutors to handle 85 per cent of the country’s court cases which are of criminal disposition – all undermining the country’s judicial system.
Atrociously averaging 36 out of 100, Transparency International puts the Philippines on the 99th spot of its 180-country list for its stagnant progress in fighting against graft.
Eradication of corruption cannot be guaranteed anytime soon; however, an increase in awareness is regularly given to Filipino citizens to better apply and maneuver justice in the government system. Encouragement is also voiced out in several platforms to shed light on matters that involve the safeguarding of the nation’s financial assets. The youth then plays a part in taking corrective measures to ensure that the right leaders are chosen to rightfully act on their behalf in establishing frameworks that seek equal distribution of welfare. With their active participation in live debates as well as their powerful use of social media, much needed information are spread to an even wider scope of audience. Factor in their realization of their freedom to express and their right to stand for their beliefs, the youth is becoming more and more involved and invested in Philippine politics. With the right news falling into their attention, responsible and nonpartisan understanding of the country’s current events is bound to overpower what was once a stereotypical ignorance. From this driven operation on, the fight against corruption can only go uphill from here.