ANTI-corruption advocates on Thursday thanked China for its pledge to give 150 million renminbi (RMB) or about P1.15-billion pledge to the Philippines for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez said China’s pledge would greatly help the Philippine government in reconstructing the Islamic city that was destroyed during fierce clashes between government forces and Islamic State (IS)-linked Maute terrorists.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the Chinese government will provide grants for the rebuilding and improvement of livelihood in Marawi.
“We have full confidence that under your leadership, Mr. President, and the leadership of your government, the rebuilding of Marawi will be completed at – in a very early date and the local people will embrace even better life,” the Chinese premier said.
Jimenez however called on the China to make sure that the money it would be donating to the Philippines would be used for the intended programs and projects.
“We are urging the donor China to request the Philippine Government to invite Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for a Seminar-Workshop to agencies which will implement the projects,” Jimenez said.
He noted that the ICAC and Singapore’s Corruption Practice Investigation Bureau (CPIB) were among the best agencies in combatting graft and corruption.
Jimenez also called on the government to put a stop to the corrupt practices of some government agencies.
“The government must stop the usual ‘kalakaran’ (trend) and ‘tara’ (payoff) practice in governance if it wants to succeed its anti-corruption campaign,” he said, adding that corruption is the root of poverty and contributes to the proliferation of crimes and illegal drugs.
Another way to discourage corruption in government is for congress to pass the bill that seek to reimpose the death penalty and include plunder in the list of crimes punishable by death.
VACC also wants congress to amend the plunder law and lower the threshold from P50 million to P10 million.
“By lowering the threshold, people in government will think twice before they steal public funds,” Jimenez said.