Manila, PHILIPPINES, Dec 3, 2014 – Transparency International updated its annual Corruption Perception Index, and the Philippines continued its steady rise up the ranks, from 96th place to 85th this year, with another 2-point increase, and a 4-point increase since 2012, now 38-points.
While the Philippines remains below the median 50-point mark, this represents a marked improvement on the traditionally negative perception the Philippines has been straddled with since the Index’s inception (in it’s first year, 2001, Philippines was rated at 29-points (normalized)), and validates the improvements in governance that the Aquino administration has championed.
The Philippines now outranks China (100), which experienced a steep decline in its rating, Russia (136), and Indonesia (107). China’s decline can be mainly attributed to recently publicized revelations that many of China’s elite have been hiding funds in tax havens far in excess of the legal limit of USD50,000 a year imposed by the Chinese government. Some of this is ill-gotten, but recent polls and surveys have indicated, a slowing and uncertain Chinese economy, and difficulty in navigating the complex bureaucratic framework in business; as well as the ability for Chinese elite to circumvent regulation with impunity has been the reason for this. Despite Xi Jinping championing a no tolerance policy to corruption, many political and social experts have instead witnessed the opposite occurring, with the most stringent crackdown on dissidents and pro-democracy advocates, since Premier Li Peng.
Despite improvement, the Philippines is one of 18 countries within the Asia-Pacific region that, despite high levels of growth, still lags behind nearly half of the 175 countries within the index,
“The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,” said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International, “corrupt officials smuggle ill-gotten assets into safe havens through offshore companies with absolute impunity,” he added. “Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people.”
The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.