SWS: More businessmen say corruption in gov't has dropped

Filipino businessmen think that "radical progress" has been made under President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's anti-corruption campaign, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) said Tuesday.

This, as it cited positive preliminary results of its 2012 Survey of Enterprises on Corruption which account for interviews with executives from 826 companies from July 16 to Sept. 14.

Only 42 percent of respondents see "a lot" of corruption in the public sector this year, down from 64 percent in 2009, the SWS said.

Business executives who said that "most or all" businesses pay bribes to win government contracts also slid to 41 percent in 2012 from 48 percent in the previous survey.

Those who admitted to having personal knowledge of corruption, meanwhile, dropped to 32 percent this year from 37 percent in 2009.

"When executives compare the present administration to the past one, 71 percent see less corruption now, and only 2 percent see more corruption now," the SWS said.

The Office of the President, meanwhile, posted an "excellent" score in terms of sincerity in its fight against corruption.

Its "net sincerity rating," which is the difference of the percentage of respondents who find it "insincere" and those who find it "sincere," rose to +81 from -37 in 2009.

Bagging "very good" ratings after being rated "good" in 2009 were the Health department with +60 in 2012 versus +37 in 2009, and the Trade department with +59 versus +38.

Three institutions were meanwhile rated "good" this year from neutral in 2009. These are the Education department, with ratings rising to +49 from zero in 2009; the Senate, +38 from -1; and the Office of the Ombudsman, +38 from -8.

Posting "poor" but improved net sincerity ratings, meanwhile, were the Bureau of Internal Revenue, with -18 in 2012 from -57 in 2009; the Public Works department, -23 from -65; Land Transportation Office, -26 from -39.

The Commission on Elections was also rated as "poor" at -14 this year, dropping from a "neutral" -8 in 2009.

Only the Bureau of Customs was rated "bad" with a net sincerity rating of -45 in 2012, up from a "very bad" of -69 in 2009.

"There is no longer any agency with a Very Bad rating in 2012," the SWS said.

Majority of business executives meanwhile think "big fish" corruption cases are "being conducted fairly, but at too slow a pace," the SWS noted.

These include the NBN-ZTE deal case against former Pres. Gloria Arroyo and former COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos; the police helicopter case against former first gentleman Mike Arroyo; and perjury against Virgiliano Garcillano in relation to the "Hello Garci" scandal.

"Although executives see less corruption in the private sector than in the public sector, the situation is also serious, and has not improved," the SWS said.

"The tendency of companies in their own sector to give bribes to win private contracts is more or less unchanged," it added.

The rate of reporting of bribe solicitations also remains at a low 9 percent, with the SWS noting that the "main excuse is still the feeling of futility in doing so."

Business executives also refuse to spend for the fight against corruption although they expect their profits to rise by a median of 20 percent if corruption in the Philippines is reduced to the level of Singapore, the SWS said.

The SWS survey was supported by Australian Agency for International Development and done in partnership with the Makati Business Club’s Integrity Initiative program and the National Competitive Council.

Fieldwork is ongoing, with a target sample size of 950 firms, the SWS said.

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