On the same day that the slowest economic growth rate in eight years was reported by the government, the latest Corruption Perception Index was also released by Berlin-based Transparency International, showing the country falling by 14 places in the CPI to rank 113th among 180 countries.
It is the lowest rank for the Philippines since 2011 when it placed 129th – although that was an improvement from the 134th place in 2010 when the country was first included in the CPI. The country then rose steadily in the index, improving to 105th place in 2012, 94th in 2013 and 85th the following year.
But the country fell to 95th in 2015, and has since fallen steadily, to 101st place in 2016 and 111th in 2017. The CPI is based on information gathered by Transparency International from experts and business people who deal regularly with government. With 100 as the best score, the Philippines saw its latest score slip to 34 from the previous year’s 36.
International organizations have long linked corruption to development levels and economic growth. It is no coincidence that countries that consistently do well in the CPI are also among the world’s wealthiest and most progressive. This year, Denmark and New Zealand tied at first place with a score of 87, followed by Finland. Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland are tied at fourth place. Norway ranked next, followed by the Netherlands; Germany and Luxembourg were tied at 7th place.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines ranked ahead only of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. After Singapore, Brunei placed 35th; Malaysia, 51st; Indonesia, 85th; Vietnam, 96th and Thailand, 101st.
President Duterte has often said his battle against corruption is as much a priority as his war on drugs. The latest CPI indicates that there is still much work ahead. Victory in this battle is certain to translate into a much improved economic growth.