MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense wants a revalidation of a report by UK-based Transparency International that put the country’s defense sector in a “very high” risk of corruption.
In the report, the Philippines was placed in Band E, or “very high” risk, along with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
DND spokesman Dr. Peter Paul Galvez on Wednesday said they were not told of the study and was not asked by the watchdog to verify the contents of the report.
He also expressed confidence that if the report would be validated, the Philippines can go to Band B, or “low risk” of corruption.
“Ang sama naman na nasa (It’s so disgusting we landed in) Band E… or very high risk when if this is revalidated, we are confident that we can go to Band B, along with the other countries … Anyway it’s part of their methodology, to revalidate, to validate their data…,” Galvez said.
Galvez questioned the basis of the study as no one from Transparency International contacted the DND to verify its data.
“I think that’s one of the key issues here with regards this survey…Our process is very transparent,” he told reporters at a press briefing.
But while the DND does not agree with the report, it said it is taking it seriously to examine their practices.
“While we are saying that we do not necessarily agree with the contents of the report, we think there should be reason for us to re-examine our stance, our procurement, etc.,” DND Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Installations and Logistics Patrick Velez told reporters in the same briefing.
“Remember that our efforts are continuing, so we are taking it seriously and taking these things as part of the process of the transparency thing.”
Velez assured all countries that the department is committed to implementing transparency and accountability measures.
“…Even in the existence of reports like this, it is high time for us to make that statement and that assurance that we are undertaking all procurement processes under the scrutiny of the public, the press and everybody else,” he said.
“We assure you there will be no hanky-panky in so far as procurement in the defense department is concerned.”
The Transparency International studied 82 countries in terms of size of military, arms trade and size of the security sector.
It claimed that political corruption in the Philippines is most prevalent due to lack of transparency and weak oversight by Congress.