‘Denormalize corruption,’ says Vico Sotto after getting US State Department award
MANILA, Philippines — Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has a simple message for the Philippines after being cited by the US State Department as an anti-corruption champion: “Denormalize” corruption.
“Thank you to the US Department of State for this recognition. But more than the recognition, I hope this helps raise awareness. If we want better long-term governance, we need to fight corruption. We have to denormalize it, get it out of our culture,” Sotto said in a tweet on Wednesday night, hours after he was announced as one of the 12 recipients of the US State Department’s International Anti-Corruption Champion Award.
Thank you to the U.S. Department of State for this recognition.
But more than the recognition, I hope this helps raise awareness.FEATURED STORIES
If we want better long-term governance, we need to fight corruption. We have to denormalize it, get it out of our culture. https://t.co/aeMUz3VFKd
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) February 24, 2021
Sotto, touted as a part of the new breed of Filipino politicians, was cited for his efforts in cleaning his city despite not even completing his first term yet.
According to the US State Department, the award is given to individuals “who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries”.
The State Department also agreed with views that Sotto is a standard-bearer, representing a new generation of leaders who prioritize anti-corruption campaigns and transparency initiatives.
This is not the first time Sotto was cited for his efforts as Pasig mayor. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sotto — son of Filipino comedy actor and TV host Vic Sotto and actress Coney Reyes — was recognized as one of the best performing local officials in responding to the health crisis.
Corruption remains a big problem in the Philippines: Just recently, it ranked 115th in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index, retaining its low score of 34 out of a possible 100.
Compared to its Asian neighbors, the Philippines just outranked three other countries — Laos (134th), Myanmar (137th), Cambodia (160th), but remained below Thailand and Vietnam (tied at 104th), Indonesia (102nd), Timor-Leste (86th), Malaysia (57th), Brunei Darussalam (35th), and Singapore (3rd).
The Philippines has a long-standing problem with corruption, facing such issues as the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund scam and the more recent anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that, despite his insistent promise to rid the country of corruption, the public should not expect him to entirely clean the bureaucracy as it is impossible.
“I cannot, do not expect me to entirely clean, as in pristine clean the bureaucracy. That is impossible and cannot really be achievable,” Duterte said.
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