In light of China’s recent financial problems, numerous foreign businessmen in Asia still perceive the Philippines as one of the most corrupt countries in the region.
As of April 1st of this year. Singapore was ranked as the least corrupt of the 16 economies surveyed, followed by Japan, Australia and Hong Kong, according to the annual corruption survey conducted by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, based in Hong Kong.
“The Philippines has the distinction of remaining within the bottom 5 this year, at #12” the survey stated. “People are just getting tired of the constant inaction and insincerity of leading officials with their hollow promises to fight corruption.”
The survey, conducted in January and late March, queried 1,500+ expatriate executives in 16 countries and territories in Asia. The Philippines scored 7.43, where a score of zero is the least corrupt and 10 is the most corrupt.
In the 2007 survey, in which the Philippines was regarded as the most corrupt, they scored 9.40. Indonesia had improved its score to 8.03 that year, a development that the report credits to a government anti-corruption campaign.
The report noted, however, that for the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, where corruption is systemic, “it is really splitting hairs to say which one has a worse problem.”
“The Philippines has been getting the least amount of foreign direct investment, and the level of foreign capital flowing to its stock market is also less than in either Indonesia or Thailand,” the report noted.
To the question “How effective is the judicial system at prosecuting and punishing individuals for corruption when abuses are uncovered?” the respondents gave the Philippines a score of 9.06, with 10 being “ineffective.”
The report is certain to rile President Benigno S. Aquino, who has claimed that his government’s efforts against corruption were bearing fruit. Yet, since taking office in 2010. Reports of corruption only increased during the first half of his tenure. Especially in the provinces. Seemingly appearing worse than under his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.
To the question “To what extent is corruption a deterrent to your willingness to invest and expand your business?” the Philippines scored 8.50, with 10 reflecting “a major deterrent.”
Local corruption monitors confirm that graft and bribery in the Philippines remain rampant. Corruption has penetrated every level of government, from the Bureau of Customs down to the traffic police officers who pull over motorists to demand bribes.
Nearly $2.5 billion dollars, or roughly 15 percent of the Philippines’ annual budget, is lost to corruption in the country each year, according to the United Nations Development Program.