Aquino: ‘Corruption really is not tolerated’

Rappler.com
Aquino: ‘Corruption really is not tolerated’
'The challenge is for us to continue weeding out these people and not just tolerating the situation,' the President tells members of the semiconductor and electronics industries

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III told members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI) on Friday, October 23, that corruption “really is not tolerated.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the SEIPI 14th CEO’s Forum, a member lamented that “electronics companies are still victims of red tape and corruption by the employees of the public sector.”

To this, the President replied: “We admit that there are still instances of corruption. There are some agencies that have so much rooted corruption in them. But, I guess, the challenge is for us to continue weeding out these people and not just tolerating the situation.”

Aquino said, “A bribee doesn’t exist without a briber.”

“That tells us to review the system. What is it in the law that makes it so difficult to comply that leads to all of these avenues, or potential avenues, for corruption?”

The President added that even the administration’s allies are being made to account by the Ombudsman under various courts. “That, hopefully, will send a message to everybody that corruption really is not tolerated,” he said.

Based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2014, the Philippines is perceived as becoming less corrupt over the recent years.

The Philippines was ranked 85th out of 175 countries by the Germany-based watchdog, up from 94 in 2013, and 105 in 2012. Although the Philippines still scored below 50 in the index, its CPI score of 38 for 2014 is a “marked improvement” from how it fared in 2012 at 34, and 36 in 2013, Transparency International said. (READ: PH perceived to be less corrupt – 2014 global survey)

Aquino said there are steps being undertaken to combat corruption, like government websites accepting tips on corrupt government personnel; increasing the salary of government workers; and implementing a performance-based system for bonuses.

Red tape exists

As for red tape, SEIPI President Dan Lachica pointed out that takes 193 hours for a businessman to pay 36 kinds of fees and taxes a year and that it takes 60 to 110 days for SEIPI member-companies to apply for and obtain import permits and licenses.

Setting up businesses in the Philippines seemed not improving, as it slid down from 86th to 95th place, the 2014 “Doing Business” report of the World Bank showed. (READ: Philippines is 95th ‘best place’ to do business – WB report)

In April this year, government agencies announced reforms, promising that starting a business in the country would only take 8 days and require 6 steps, down from the currently required 34 days and 16 steps. (READ: Start a business in 8 days and 6 steps, gov’t promises)

“If we truly wants to encourage investors, we need to streamline the processes,” Lachica said in his welcome remarks.

“All we can promise is that we are striving to eliminate a lot of these steps,” Aquino said.

“Now, I think there are very, very significant differences between where we started and where we are now. And hopefully, we will get even more and more efficiencies out of the bureaucracy,” the President said. – Rappler.com

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