THE country can curb corruption if government will introduce institutional reforms and strictly impose sanctions, analysts and experts said on Monday.
Speaking at the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption’s (VACC) anti-corruption summit, political science professors Clarita Carlos, Temario Rivera and public policy expert Eduardo Araral agreed that corruption can be reduced if corrupt government officials and personnel are pumished.
Carlos, who is also the executive director of Strat Search Foundation Inc., said bureaucratic reforms would be effective in reducing human intervention in the process of government that is a major source of corruption.
She admitted that while it is impossible to eradicate corruption, it can be reduced effectively if sanctions are implemented.
“It is up to us therefore to rearrange the furniture of sanctions in our midst for corruption not to have an enabling environment because the environment is very enabling,” Carlos said.
Fighting corruption was one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promises.
Rivera, of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, said it is not enough to have a decisive political leadership.
The decisiveness of Duterte, he added, needs to be accompanied or complemented by necessary reforms, just like what happened in Singapore and China.
“No amount of decisiveness will succeed without an effective state,” he said. “You may have a very decisive leader but decisiveness is not enough. You need also a consensus and what are the public interests that need to be pushed forward, protected and advanced.”
Araral, of the National University of Singapore, agreed with Rivera.
He said Singapore, the least corrupt country in Asia, did not succeed in its fight against corruption because of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew alone, but he was able to set the phase by introducing institutional reforms based on integrity and service.
Lee, he said, came up with a system wherein civil servants were paid well but at the same time were afraid of committing corruption.
Araral said the Philippines needs an effective mechanism that would show that the government is serious in its fight against corruption.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez expressed hope that through the summit, the organization would be able to help the government effectively fight corruption and bring back the people’s trust in government.
“Corruption is a monster that takes away opportunities of better service and better living to every Filipino and we hope that through Help (Highest Example of Leadership in the people), we will be able to provide hope to the people that we can eliminate it,” Jimenez added.