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APEC urged to fight corruption relentlessly with good governance

APEC economies are urged to fight corruption relentlessly and the best ammunition to defeat this “evil” is good governance as this tool has the capacity to rebuild not just destroy, restore and strengthen regimes to tread on the right path sustainably.

This was stressed by Jesus Estanislao, chairman emeritus of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), in a speech at the ABAC luncheon with APEC Senior Officials, as he presented 12 Philippine government agencies as actual examples of transformation by way of good governance.

apec 2015 logo“Corruption is evil. It weakens. It kills. It leaves many millions of people in poverty. It undermines faith and trust in government. It needs to be fought. Relentlessly and successfully,” Estanislao urged the gathering of APEC Senior Officials.

“The fight against corruption, however, cannot be a mere flash in the pan. It has to be systemic; strategic; and sustained,” he said adding this is the main objective in ISA’s advocacy for good governance.

“We have found that good governance is the other side of the same coin as the fight against corruption. Moreover, good governance sounds more positive; it also builds (rather than merely destroys); it also cleans up and restores trust (rather than merely removes dirt and the sources of dismay); it also strengthens and secures the continuity of regimes that tread on the right path (rather than merely disempowers those marked by graft and corruption),” he said.

SIA started its advocacy for good governance with the business sector to embrace the principles and practices suggested by the OECD and now also by the G20. This has been cascaded into ASEAN for its publicly listed corporations.

Estanislao noted that 12 of the 50 top-scoring ASEAN publicly listed corporations are Philippine corporations.

“However, it takes two to do the good governance tango. We therefore had to extend our advocacy to the public sector as well,” he said.

With the private sector now adhering to best practices, it is about time that its advocacy cascades into the public sector.

“For our public sector, good governance means: their having to think long-term and strategic: they had to craft a shared vision, further specified by a Transformation Road Map. It also means their having to act systemic and on a sustained basis: pursuit of the Transformation Road Map has to be a shared responsibility on the part of everyone in the public sector enterprise. This means having to cascade and win buy-in from virtually everyone working within the enterprise; it means continuing monitoring of everyone’s performance; it also means rewarding above-target performance; and it demands having to stay the course until breakthrough transformative results are actually delivered,” the former finance minister of the then President Corazon Aquino said.

The ISA has adopted a balanced scorecard called the Performance Governance System into the Philippine public sector institutions.  The scorecard is about good governance that is systemic and sustained so as to deliver transformative performance.

Now, ISA has named its first 12 public institutions as examples for other government agencies to emulate. From the local governments units, Estanislao named the first 5 “City” Islands of Good Governance. These are the City of Balanga,  City of Mandaue, City of Talisay, City of Butuan, and City of Dipolog.

“Their stories of transformation are available for other cities to look at and possibly learn from,” he said.

From the national government, the ISA has identified its first National Government Agency (NGA) Islands of Good Governance. They are the Philippine Heart Center under our Department of Health, the Department of Trade & Industry, and the third to fifth agencies are under the Department of National Defense. These are the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Navy.

Read more at Manila Bulletin