Chiz: EDSA all about ‘daang matuwid’

Senator Chiz Escudero called on government elected and appointed to adhere to the “daang matuwid’ philosophy of President Benigno Aquino III which was also the principle behind the launching of the historic EDSA revolt, as a way to keep the goal to enhance Filipino’s life on track.

“President Aquino had re-initiated the pursuit for a clean government, which was the expectation of Filipinos who joined the EDSA People’s Power revolt in 1986 that installed President Cory, who is now hailed worldwide as an icon of democracy,” Escudero said.

The country is marking the 27th anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled the dictator President Ferdinand Marcos today.

Marcos ruled the country for 21 years, eight years of which under Martial Law, a period marked with human rights violations and abuse of power in government.

Escudero said despite the return of democracy in 1986, the Philippines has remained in the lower rung of the transparency index mainly because of corruption.

While the Philippines has overtaken 10 countries including its neighbors Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh in the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International (TI), the country’s score of 34, in a scale of 0 which is perceived to be highly corrupt to 100 which is perceived to be very clean, still belongs to the two thirds which scored below 50 in the 176 countries ranked.

“Corrupt practices still happen in government despite President Aquino’s advocacy of transparency and good governance. The toughest challenge is for the entire bureaucracy to embrace the concept of integrity and public service,” Escudero said.

He said that for wide-ranging changes to happen in improving the country’s transparency image, the cooperation of the whole nation would be needed.

According to retired Judge Dolores Español, one of the founding directors of the TI Movement and founder of TI Philippines, “the impeachment trials, the declaration of SALNs, the transparent process of the chief justice replacement, the first year of the new Ombudsman  and the general openness of the Aquino administration in the quest for a transparent government” have contributed to improved public perception on corruption.

Español, however, said there is still much to be done for it not to remain purely in the change of perception but in societal transformation that is truly tangible.

A survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO) conducted in 2010 showed four out of 10 Filipino families had at least one member who resorted to bribing a government official or personnel to speed up the processing of a government paper or transaction.

The survey also showed nine percent of respondents who sought assistance from a government employee paid a bribe in cash or gift to facilitate the transaction.

Escudero said corruption is a two-way anomaly that involves the one who offers a bribe and the other who receives it.

“Efforts toward eradicating corruption, thus, will have to involve a change in values of both the public and government officials,” Escudero said.