Developing a Corruption-intolerant Society
What is the project about?
At present, the Philippines is ranked as the 41st most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International, and the 3rd most corrupt in the Asia-Pacific by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. Moreover, an estimated 20% of the national budget is lost to corruption each year. Corruption of this magnitude has had a crippling effect on the economy, as well as the human rights of each and every Filipino.
It is possible to argue that corruption is endemic throughout the Philippine public finance system. Irregularity has long been affixed with revenue generation, as regressive practices and perpetual collusion between tax collectors and big businesses have merely widened the level of disparity between the rich and the poor. Un-programmed appropriations in the national budget – including the Priority Development Assistance Funds, Special Purpose Funds, and Intelligence Funds – have been widely viewed as legal sources of funding for corruption. Public expenditure has been highly vulnerable to corruption, as unnecessary, excessive, and unconscionable spending being a commonality.
In the next 5 years (2012-2016), UNDP together with a loose coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) will continue to support citizens initiatives that promote integrity, accountability and transparency in the public finance sector, especially at the local level. Using the human rights-based approach, we will be looking at public finance holistically, where each sub-sector are interrelated and linked to one other. From revenue generation to debt management, we will be supporting initiatives that will increase awareness, expand capacities, and support collective actions of citizens, especially among women and indigenous people, on the following:
- Linkages (institutional relationships & interfaces) of the different sub-sectors in public finance; and
- Leakages (corruption, inefficiencies) within the sector that may create an impact on the quality of life of our communities.
Specifically, this project aims to mitigate corruption in governance through increased citizen participation in public finance processes. However, in order to combat corruption effectively, the project will have to reconceptualize the common understanding of public finance closer to that suggested by its literal definition. In this respect, public finance has to be viewed more than just the responsibility of government to manage the flow of resources for the attainment of public objectives. Rather, public finance has to also recognise the responsibility of citizens to engage and monitor financial processes, so that they themselves are able to hold government officials accountable to the public interest. It is through this democratic practice of participatory public finance that the values of transparency and accountability can be upheld, and the quality of democratic governance can be improved.
To achieve this, the idea that Public Finance is exclusive for financial experts, economists and academicians must be dismantled. UNDP intends to do so by strengthening the capacities of the citizens and organized groups to perform their oversight roles in every stage of the public finance system, with active participation of youth, women, and indigenous peoples. It will continue to support the Civil Service Commission in capacitating CSOs to monitor the implementation of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) to improve delivery of government front line services.
What have we accomplished so far?
We are happy to note of the National Government’s new policy to make the budget process more open to the people than ever before. We look forward to working with the Department of Budget and Management to use human-rights based approach in the budgeting process as well as to working closely with the Office of the Ombudsman on its anti-corruption programme as well as its work on the compliance to the United National Convention on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC). This approach was already used in the formulation of the Philippine Development Plan with the leadership of the National Economic Authority (NEDA).
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Delivery in previous fiscal year
- Project start date:
- January 2012
- Estimated end date:
- December 2016
- Geographic coverage:
- Focus Area:
- Democratic Governance
- MDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
- Project officer:
- Emmanuel E. Buendia, Team Leader, Democratic Governance
- Office of the Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission, Department of Budget and Management