ANTI-corruption advocates on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to declare war against corruption of the same intensity as administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption made the appeal to Duterte at the close of a two-day anti-corruption summit organized by the group Tuesday.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, said the government need not raise taxes if corruption in the country was minimized.
Jimenez said the administration should focus on corruption in tax collection, rigged biddings, ghost deliveries, poor and inadequate medical services and illegal drugs, among others.
The VACC chief expressed belief that corruption would be addressed effectively if the President declared war against it.
The President, he said, could begin with the proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 budget particularly the “insertions” made by some members of Congress.
Jimenez said it was estimated that 20 percent of the national budget was lost to corruption every year.
“If we could stop this 20 percent from going into the pockets of corrupt officials we won’t be needing new taxes to be able to fund various government projects,” he added.
The VACC presented to Duterte a resolution containing a 10-point action plan for his consideration.
The recommendations of the VACC and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc, include the declaration of war against corruption by the President and death penalty on corruption, strengthening of anti-corruption agencies, overhauling of outdated systems and organizations, removal of opportunities for corruption and redefining corruption to include incompetence of public officials.
The groups also recommended the strict observance of command responsibility where superiors must be answerable for the misdeeds of their subordinates. Agencies prone to corruption should also be identified and strictly monitored.
If the Philippines wanted to be on the list of the world’s 10 least-corrupt countries by 2022, the government must put in place mechanisms to discourage those in government from stealing taxpayers money, Jimenez said.