Tracking sincerity against corruptionBy Mahar Mangahas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There is both good news and bad news in the 2012 SWS Survey of Enterprises on Corruption, the 10th in a series from 2000, that tracks the state of public and private sector corruption from the viewpoints of Filipino business executives.
The good news is that the public sector appears to have made much progress against corruption from 2009, the year of the last previous survey. The bad news (to be discussed in another column) is that the private sector has not had a counterpart improvement.
The percentage of executives seeing “a lot” of corruption in the public sector fell to 42 in 2012, from 64 in 2009. The percentage saying that “most/almost all” companies in their own sector give bribes to win public sector contracts fell to 41 in 2012, from 48 in 2009. These indicators are at their lowest since 2000, though they still have far to go.
Those who witnessed corruption in the last three months in their own sector have fallen from 37 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2012, the lowest in five rounds since 2006. When asked to compare the present administration to the past one, 71 percent see less corruption, and only 2 percent see more corruption, now.
But the most eagerly awaited items of the periodic SWS surveys of enterprises are the ratings of the sincerity of specific agencies in fighting corruption, so they are the focus here.
Of the 20 public sector institutions included in the new enterprises survey, 17 improved their sincerity ratings from 2009 to 2012.
The outstanding topnotcher in 2012 is the Office of the President (OP), rated sincere by 85 percent, and insincere by only 5 percent, of those surveyed, giving a net sincerity rating of +81 (correctly rounded), which SWS classifies as Excellent (+70 or more).
In 2009 the OP was rated sincere by 24 percent, and insincere by 61 percent, for a net rating of -37, which SWS classifies as Bad (from -30 to -49). Thus the sincerity of the OP—which was consistently negative in 2006-2009—has been radically upgraded by six steps, bypassing Poor (-10 to -29), Neutral (-9 to +9), Moderate (+10 to +29), Good (+30 to +49), and Very Good (+50 to +69). This 180-degree turnaround is totally unprecedented.
Two agencies that were already Good in 2009 are now Very Good in 2012; this is a single upgrade. The Department of Health is at +60 now, from +37 before; and the Department of Trade and Industry is at +59 now, from +38 before. Both agencies have always been positively rated.
Three institutions that were merely Neutral in 2009 are now Good in 2012; these are double upgrades. The Department of Education went from zero to +49; the Senate went from -1 to +38; and the Office of the Ombudsman went from -8 to +38.
Of six institutions with Moderate ratings, four improved from 2009. The Sandiganbayan is up one step, at +27, from Neutral +8. The double upgrades of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, at +27, from a Poor -25, and the Department of Budget and Management, at +22, from a Poor -17, are more significant. The triple upgrade of the Department of Transportation and Communication, at +10, from a Bad -30, is even more meaningful.
The other Moderates in 2012 are: the City Government, at +24, a drop from a Good +35 in 2009; and the Supreme Court, at +23, a drop from a Good +40 in 2009. Both cases are only single downgrades, and stay safely on the positive side.
The three institutions with Neutral ratings in 2012 are all improved from 2009. With double upgrades are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, at +1, from a Bad -34, and the House of Representatives, at -2, from a Bad -34. A single upgrade goes to the Philippine National Police, at -8, from a Poor -17.
Of four agencies with Poor ratings in 2012, three are upgrades from 2009. Up two steps are the Bureau of Internal Revenue, at -18, from a Very Bad -57, and the Department of Public Works and Highways, at -23, from a Very Bad -65 (which pleased Public Works Secretary Rogelio “Babes” Singson, who told the Integrity Summit that he aims to score Neutral next year). Up one step is the Land Transportation Office, at -26, from a Bad -39.
The fourth agency rated as Poor is the Commission on Elections, with -14 in 2012, or one step down from a Neutral -8 in 2009.
There is now only one institution with a Bad rating, namely the Bureau of Customs, which nevertheless has an upgrade to -45 in 2012, from a Very Bad -69 in 2009; it had even been as low as Execrable (-70 or worse) in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
In 2012, there is no agency rated as Very Bad (between -50 and -69). This is also meaningful, since this category was previously occupied regularly by BOC, BIR and DPWH, and sometimes by Comelec.
The administration’s fight against corruption has clearly gone far. We look forward to even more progress in the future.
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The 2012 Survey of Enterprises on Corruption was supported by the Australian Agency for International Development through The Asia Foundation, and done in partnership with the Makati Business Club’s Integrity Initiative program and the National Competitiveness Council. Last week’s preliminary report was based on interviews with executives of 826 companies in the National Capital Region, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Cagayan de Oro-Iligan, and, for the first time, Metro Angeles and Metro Iloilo, over
July 16 to Sept. 14, 2012. The SWS website has all the slides of the Sept. 19, 2012, presentation at the AIM Conference Center.
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Contact SWS: www.sws.org.ph or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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