On December 13, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) sponsored a daylong forum to examine challenges in implementing measures to fight corruption within the Philippine law enforcement and justice sectors.
Organized by the nongovernment organization The Asia Foundation to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day, the forum’s participants shared best practices and strategies for combating corruption in government agencies.
The webinar convened stakeholders from more than 20 agencies from the law enforcement sector and those with adjudication, prosecution, and audit powers to discuss strategies for mitigating gaps in policy and administration that create organizational vulnerabilities potentially leading to corruption. Through a series of roundtable discussions and subject-matter-expert presentations, participants crafted an action plan to amplify existing anti-corruption measures within their respective organizations.
Among the participating agencies were Sandiganbayan, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine National Police, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
In her keynote address, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang emphasized the importance of embracing digitalization and the use of technology in minimizing opportunities for public corruption, and challenged participants to be leaders modeling “competence and integrity.”
Sam Chittick, Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, encouraged participants to “explore ways in which we can all scale up anti-corruption efforts in the sector,” while INL Director Kelia Cummins congratulated the participants for their “commitment to working hand-in-hand with other government agencies and entities to ensure good governance, accountability, and transparency.”
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava recognized recent anti-corruption successes, including Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto’s February 2021 selection as one of the U.S. Department of State’s 12 global anti-corruption champions for promoting transparency of city government operations and improving access to information for Pasig residents.
The forum was held in commemoration of the December 2003 ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which has 188 signatory nations including the Philippines and the U.S.
Globally, INL provides assistance to nations to bolster capacity to counter crime, and promote public transparency, accountability, and integrity.