Graft, red tape remain, Aquino told
While they congratulated President Benigno Aquino III for his anticorruption efforts, executives of semiconductor and electronics companies complained to him that they still fell prey to corrupt employees in government and struggled with red tape.
In response, the President admitted that there were still instances of corruption but assured the business executives that the campaign to make government officials and employees accountable for their wrongdoings was an ongoing effort. He cited that the Office of the Ombudsman made even his political allies answer for graft and corruption charges.
“The Philippine electronics industry in general applauds the Excellency for his thrust on good governance, integrity and transparency. It is unfortunate, however, that the electronics companies are still victims of red tape and corruption by the employees of the public sector.
What measures are being undertaken to ensure that the administration’s thrusts are trickled down even to the first-level officers?” Mario Ravancho of Vishay Philippines asked the President at the 119th General Meeting of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (Seipi) held in Muntinlupa City.
Electronics and semiconductors comprise the Philippines’ largest export sector.
“We admit that there are still instances of corruption. There are some agencies that have so much rooted corruption in them. But, I guess, the challenge is for us to continue weeding out these people and not just tolerating the situation,” the President told the group.
He said there were innovations by his administration to curb corruption, such as the salary standardization of government employees to match by about 70 percent salaries received by employees in the private sector.
But he also expounded on the dynamics of corruption, the bribee and the briber, the latter being the former’s “necessary partner.”
“A bribee doesn’t exist without a briber,” he also reminded them.
At the same time, the President conceded there was a need to “review the system.”
“What is it in the law that makes it so difficult to comply, that leads to all of these avenues or potential avenues for corruption? And if both parties—those that feel it’s easier to bribe the person and the person who actually accepts the bribe—are, shall we say, brought to a new direction, then I think we will eliminate that idea of corruption,” Mr. Aquino said.
As for red tape, the President said “anything made by man can be undone by man.”
In his brief speech, Mr. Aquino thanked the semiconductor industry for its contribution to the country’s growing economy and expressed hope that the industry would work closely with his successor “to move Philippine manufacturing into the global spotlight.”
The other day, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal and perpetual barring from public office Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco Sr., an Aquino ally and close friend of the president’s anointed presidential candidate, Mar Roxas.
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