Philippine Corruption Is Still As Bad as It Was Six Years Ago

The country's score on the Corruption Perceptions Index is way below the world's average.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano

While the Philippines improved its standing on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), moving to 99th from 111th in the previous period, it does not mean our government has become a more honest one.

With a score of 36 in 2018, the Philippines improved only slightly from 2017’s 34. The perceived level of public sector corruption is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 means that a country is thought of as “highly corrupt” and a 100 means that a country is perceived as “very clean.”

If anything, the country’s current standing shows that the level of perceived corruption has not improved at all in the past six years. Since 2012, the Philippines’ score has played around the range of 34 to 38, which falls under the “hybrid regime” category of democracy. Countries on this level are those that show elements of “autocratic tendencies”. The last time the Philippine scored 36 was in 2013.

The country’s current score is also way below the world’s average at 43, ranking the Philippines at 18th place among its peers in the Asia Pacific region. Other developing countries in Asia, such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka, fared better at 15th and 16th place respectively.

So is the world getting more corrupt? Not entirely. Based on the data shown, countries just simply show no signs of improvement.

“Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International. “Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.”


ILLUSTRATOR: Gian Louis Sapitanan

The group suggests four key steps that governments can take to improve their democracies: (1) strengthening of institutions, (2) closing the implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice, and enforcement (3) support civil society organizations and (4) support for free and independent media.

The CPI’s findings were drawn from 12 independent institutions that specialize in governance and business climate analysis. The questionnaires sent to experts and analysts tackled some of the malpractices that signify corruption such as bribery, diversion of public funds and “prevalence of officials using public office for private gain without facing consequences” to name a few.

Global civil society organization Transparency International has been releasing the CPI for the last 25 years. It changed its methodology in 2012. 

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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