U.S. Names Vico Sotto As One of the World's Anticorruption Champions
The United States recognized Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto as one of the world's best leaders who demonstrated effective anticorruption practices.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken launched the International Anticorruption Champions Award to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Sotto was one of only 12 statesmen from around the world who were recognized in this award. The list also includes Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro (Guatemala), Diana Salazar (Ecuador), Francis Ben Kaifala (Sierra Leone), Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla (Libya), Ardian Dvolani (Albania), Ruslan Ryaboshaphka (Ukraine), Ibrahima Kalil Gueye (Guinea) Dhuha A. Mohammed (Iraq), Bolot Temirov (Kyrgyz Republic), Anjali Bhardwaj (India), and Sofia Pretrick (Federated States of Micronesia).
"Corruption is an international problem that requires an international solution. According to a 2018 United Nations study, $1 trillion is paid in bribes every year, while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption. This is an amount equivalent to more than five percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). In developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance," wrote the U.S. Department of State on its website.
The U.S. Department of State is the equivalent of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. Below is its write-up on Sotto and his anticorruption campaign.
"Victor Sotto, Mayor of Pasig, The Philippines, is a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anticorruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office. In 2019, Sotto, then a 29-year-old city councilor, defeated an incumbent mayor whose family had ruled the city for 27 years. Sotto’s prior work on the city council resulted in the freedom of information legislation that allowed city residents to request documents without having to provide a justification—the first such law in the Metro Manila area. Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance. He pledged to avoid any kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, established a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, formally involved civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policymaking, and mandated that the value of all city government contracts be reduced by at least 10 percent—a measure intended to reduce bribery in the contract awarding process."