11 Cabinet men sign pledge vs corruption
Eleven members of President Aquino’s Cabinet have signed the Integrity Pledge, joining a private sector-led effort to institute controls to help curb corruption.
By signing the Integrity Pledge, the Cabinet officials are committing to the objectives of the Integrity Initiative, a corporate-led campaign to promote ethical business practices and eliminate corruption in the country.
Since its launch last December, the campaign has enlisted support from more than 500 private firms and leaders of government.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima signed the pledge last month, the first member of the Cabinet to do so.
Following her lead are Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, and Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez have also signed the pledge.
However, signing the Integrity Pledge is just the first step, said Henry Schumacher, vice president for external affairs of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).
These key players of the Aquino administration would now have to come up with control measures to ensure corruption-free operations in their departments and agencies.
“They have to cascade this to their people. This will be of no use if the people at the bottom do not know about this initiative,’’ he told reporters yesterday.
The Integrity Initiative is spearheaded by ECCP and the Makati Business Club (MBC), with the support of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Asian Institute of Management, Coalition Against Corruption, and the Management Association of the Philippines.
Signatories to the Integrity Pledge commit to shun bribery in any form, maintain a code of conduct for employees to pursue ethical business practices, and implement internal systems that will prevent any unethical conduct within their firms.
They also vow to maintain transparent and appropriate financial reporting mechanisms and to allow themselves to be subjected to audits should the need arise. They also commit to eventually enter into “integrity pacts” with government agencies and other businesses, especially in the area of procurement.
One of the objectives of the Integrity Initiative is to eventually formulate integrity standards by which companies will be measured—a sort of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification that will give qualified firms a seal of recognition.
The goal is to eventually get government agencies to commit to accept only bids coming from integrity-certified companies. This will encourage more companies to sign the Integrity Pledge.
The integrity certification should be ready by 2014, according to MBC executive director Peter Angelo Perfecto. The control measures, or the parameters to be used in judging a company’s overall integrity, are now being formulated, he said.
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