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President Aquino vows to boost anti-corruption campaign

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday pledged that the government will boost its anti-corruption campaign to better empower the Filipino people.
In a speech delivered during the 3rd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace, the President noted how the government’s all-out campaign against corruption has produced stellar results.
“Over the past five years and five months, we, together with the Filipino people, have transformed our country from the Sick Man of Asia into Asia’s New Darling, we have channeled our economic success into social services that make certain that our growth is inclusive, and we have begun to see the tangible impact of our long-term efforts to alleviate poverty,” Aquino said.
According to the President, part of this inclusive growth was the 1.4 million Filipino households (roughly equivalent to 7 million Filipinos) lifted above the poverty line, and the lowest unemployment rate the country received in a decade.
“All this is rooted in the battle cry of our administration, ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. (where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty),’” he said. “Throughout our administration, we have stood by that promise, with a view of empowering our people, showing them how it is to have a government that truly works for them.”
President Aquino said that to eliminate corruption and institute transparency in every possible pocket of governance, the government fixed the budgeting system that was prone to leakage and corruption, turning it into zero-based budgeting.
He also pointed out that the country has improved its ranking in surveys that measure corruption, with Transparency International bumping the Philippines up 49 places in its Corruption Perceptions Index, and the Heritage Foundation bumping the country up 48 places in terms of Freedom from Corruption, which is part of its Economic Freedom Index.
Aquino said an empowered government has a greater capacity to invest in its people. This was translated in the success in the implementation of the administration’s human development programs such as the 4.4 million household beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program. The beneficiaries have additional resources to get by and can more ably send their children to school.
The education sector has managed to clear all inherited backlogs in classrooms, school seats, and textbooks, and at the same time upgrading its basic education system to be at par with global standards. In the health sector, the bottom 40 percent of the country’s population can now just walk into any government hospital and show their PhilHealth card to receive treatment, free of charge.
“Until the very last day of my term, we will strive to do even more against corruption and to uplift as many of our countrymen as possible, and we encourage our colleagues from the Legislature and the Judiciary to continue doing the same,” the President said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.