ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Struggle to eliminate corruption: state, Church and business world club together

Thursday, 8 July 2004

Manila (Fides Service) - Uproot corruption thanks with the help of public officials and all the citizens and the morality campaign launched by the Church in the Philippines: this is the objective of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who on June 30 was given a six year mandate of national leadership following the results of recent May 10 elections.
The President said she agreed with annotations made by the local Church and the business class in recent months and called on the whole country to help eliminate corruption, the main cause of its poverty.
President Arroyo, intervening at a meeting of bishops and businessmen on the theme of human development, announced that she had charged two of her close collaborators, executive secretary Alberto Romulo and head of presidential staff Rigoberto Tiglao, to take the necessary steps to defeat the phenomenon of corruption. The President, who has made the fight against corruption a main point of her programme of government, urged the bishops and businessmen to reinstate formerly existing observer teams (civilians and members of the clergy) to control the application of commercial and industrial projects.
Some present at the meeting said “if she is sincere, the President will have to remove some big fish ”, while everyone realises that at least 150 magistrates and 500 investigators are needed to right crimes of corruption.
According to information circulated in the Philippines each year at least 40-50 billion Pesos are lost in the tricklets of corruption, to the disadvantage of the struggle against poverty.
According to survey undertaken by Transparency International the Philippines is one of the world’s most corrupt countries, low in transparency rating , 92nd on a list of 133 countries.
According to data quoted by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales Archbishop of Manila, in the Philippines corruption consumes 40% of the Gross Domestic Product, and is a serious threat to economic growth, social development and the struggle to eliminate poverty.
President Arroyo’s call to unite the country’s healthy forces was welcomed by the local Church: Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, stressed the need to “put behind us the politics of division and heal the wounds which divide the country”, calling for reconciliation and national unity among the different political and social components of society.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 8/7/2004 lines 32 words 326)