Europe-PH News

Private Groups Push Anticorruption Drive

September 08, 2011

Abigail L. Ho

The Makati Business Club and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the lead convenors of the Integrity Initiative, are urging President Aquino to also sign the Integrity Pledge to serve as the prime example of concrete anticorruption efforts in the country.

In a briefing yesterday, ECCP president Hubert D'Aboville said the groups also invited Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to follow the lead of the 14 Cabinet members and bureau heads who have joined the Integrity Initiative.

The first public servant to sign the Integrity Pledge was Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.  Following her lead were Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.

Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Chief Justice Renato Corona have also signed the Initiative.  Before leaving his post former Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim also pledged his commitment.  Outgoing Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez also did the same.

In the private sector, D'Aboville said 650 companies, groups and academic institutions have also come on board, with the number expected to reach 1,000 by year's end.

"I think this number is very much attainable.  What we're trying to do is get the companies who have already signed to also bring in three four or five more companies," he said.

Integrity Initiative chair Ramon del Rosario Jr. said the group would be launching a Unified Code of Conduct during the 1st Integrity Summit on Sept. 14.  This would harmonize all existing ethical standards used by signatory-companies and eventually lead to the formulation of an integrity certification standard.

Signatories to the Integrity Pledge commit to shun bribery in any form maintain a code of conduct for employees to pursue ethical business practices and implement internal systems that will prevent any unethical conduct within their firms.

They also vow to maintain transparent and appropriate financial reporting mechanisms and to allow themselves to be subjected to audits should the need arise.  They also commit to eventually enter into integrity pacts with government agencies and other businesses especially in the area of procurement.

The goal is to eventually get government agencies to commit to accept only bids coming from integrity-certified companies.  This will encourage more companies to sign the Integrity Pledge.

"We want the government to recognize our efforts.  We want them to use the element of integrity as one of the measures in choosing their suppliers," Del Rosario said.

"The goal is not to wipe out corruption but to at least make a significant difference.  We want to develop standards of behavior.  This initiative isn t meant to stop at just broad commitments," he said.


Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer; Business; 08 September 2011

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