Legitimacy thru accountability, good gov’t | Inquirer Opinion
Commentary

Legitimacy thru accountability, good gov’t

/ 05:03 AM November 17, 2022

In July and August this year, PwC Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines surveyed 119 CEOs of various corporations in the country, and one of the questions asked was the top factor they thought would delay Philippine recovery.

Sixty-seven percent of the respondents had corruption as their top answer.

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Other factors like lower investments, political uncertainty, inflation, and rising oil prices were far behind the list.

This sentiment of industry leaders is mirrored by the Stratbase-commissioned Pulse Asia survey conducted between Sept. 17 and 21, 2022, or around the 100th-day mark of the administration of President Marcos Jr.

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Respondents were asked to choose from seven issues that would benefit the most if corruption were controlled. Thirty-six percent chose economic recovery and development as their top answer. This was followed by improving the plight of ordinary citizens (22 percent), achieving good governance (11 percent), and efficient and effective delivery of public services (10 percent), among others.

These numbers show how people are aware of the direct relationship between how the government is run and how the economy performs, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

The usual notion is that corruption is a political issue, causing headline-grabbing scandals involving personalities being caught. However, this aggregate corruption is a far-reaching economic concern that has real and tangible effects on the way ordinary Filipinos live. And how exactly are Filipinos living?

Because empirical data is the bedrock of what we do, I will let the numbers do the talking. Just before Mr. Marcos was inaugurated last June, another Pulse Asia survey found that for Filipinos, the top three issues that must be prioritized were controlling the prices of goods and services (38.4 percent), creating jobs for the poor (19.7 percent), addressing concerns on agriculture (8.8 percent), higher salary for workers (6.8 percent), and reducing poverty and providing support to the poor (5.1 percent).

In September, Pulse Asia found that the most urgent national concerns were controlling inflation (66 percent), increasing workers’ pay (44 percent), creating more jobs (35 percent), and reducing the poverty of many Filipinos (34 percent).

More Filipinos are saying that the state of the economy is worse. Another Pulse Asia survey conducted in September showed that the economy is worse now than it was 12 months ago (40 percent), the same as it was 12 months ago (35 percent), and better (25 percent).

More telling is the fact that among those who said the economy has deteriorated, 71 percent strongly feel this in their own lives. A staggering 99 percent of respondents say that there are goods they spend on that have become more expensive in the past three months—specifically, food (89 percent), electricity (68 percent), and transportation expenses (32 percent).

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Finally, 91 percent of Filipinos agree that to effectively control corruption, the government should cooperate with different forces and groups in society, and 92 percent believe that the government should strengthen anticorruption laws and mechanisms.

These numbers tell a definitive story. The people are struggling, only inclusive economic development will alleviate their suffering, but development will only be realized through good governance—transparency and accountability—that would bring much-needed investments and jobs.

We should take our cue from the very people whose interests and rights are at the core of what we are doing. These findings should help, direct, and focus the current administration’s efforts not only to achieve fiscal discipline, build infrastructure, and attract investments but to make transparency and accountability the primary government agenda.

I have shared some of my key thoughts on this issue, but I also look forward to engaging with representatives of the government, private sector, and civil society during this year’s Pilipinas Conference, organized for the sixth year by the Stratbase ADR Institute and which will be held on Nov. 21-22.

The first session on Day 1 themed, “Governance and the Private Sector: Carving Paths to Inclusive Development” will focus on the key opportunities for governance reform and bolstering private sector initiatives to promote investment-led, sustainable, and resilient economic growth.

The analyses and solutions that will be shared by the panels of top thought leaders of government and private industries of the Pilipinas Conference will hopefully spark the fusion of meaningful partnerships and synergy needed to overcome the formidable challenges we must face as a nation recovering from a deep economic and health crisis.

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Dindo Manhit is the founder and CEO of the Stratbase Group.

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