“CORRUPTION cannot be solved overnight,” Malacanang said yesterday as it lamented reports that the Philippines’ ranking slipped in a global corruption perception survey.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is taking seriously the results of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, which put the Philippines at 111th out of 180 nations.
“We have to underscore that corruption is a problem that cannot be solved overnight,” Roque said.
Since he assumed power in June 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte has fired several government officials, including Cabinet members, “once he heard even a whiff of corruption,” Roque pointed out.
Roque also said that Duterte served notice to government officials and employees that he would not tolerate corruption on his watch, created the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, and opened the citizens’ complaint hotline 8888.
“Fighting corruption needs everyone’s cooperation. The government cannot do it alone. Citizens must be vigilant and report corruption,” the Palace official said.
Based on the Transparency International’s latest index, the Philippines’ score went down from 35 in 2016 to 34 in 2017. The last time the country scored as low was in 2012.
With a lower score, the Philippines slipped to 111th place (out of 180 countries) from 101st in 2016.
Along with India and Maldives, the Philippines was also found to be “among the worst regional offenders” when it comes to journalists, activists, opposition leaders and staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies being threatened or murdered.
The report said the Philippines is among the countries that have fewer press freedoms, an assertion the Palace has rejected.
“There is no truth that we have fewer press freedom(s). Our media are still able to broadcast and print or publish what they want – fake news included,” Roque said.
“Filipinos are free to air their grievances with the President even declaring an unprecedented Day of Protest (on September 21 last year),” he added.
He also cited the administration’s creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security to ensure the protection of media practitioners.
“Per the record of the Task Force, all murder cases involving journalists during the Duterte administration have been solved,” Roque said, adding that public officials who threatened media workers “have been ‘red flagged’ to show that we work without fear or favor.