Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has been named by US President Joe Biden's administration as one of its 12 global anticorruption champions.
Sotto is described as "a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anticorruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office."
Sotto defeated long-time mayor Bobby Eusebio in the 2019 mayoralty race. Eusebio's family has ruled Pasig City for nearly 30 years.
Prior to this, Sotto authored a city ordinance that resulted in freedom of information that allowed residents to request documents without having to provide a justification, a first Metro Manila.
Sotto's efforts for a more transparent governance include the avoidance of any kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, establishment of a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, involvement in civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policy making, and mandate that the value of all city government contracts be reduced by at least 10 percent, which aims to reduce bribery in the awarding of contracts.
To demonstrate the United States' commitment in tackling the scourge of corruption, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken launched the International Anticorruption Champions Award to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption.
"The Biden administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anti-corruption efforts and countries working to fulfil their commitments to international anti-corruption standards," Blinken said.
“For that reason, I am announcing a new International Anti-Corruption Champions Award, recognising individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries,” he said.
In addition to Sotto, the other awardees are: India's Anjali Bharadwaj, Albania's Ardian Dvorani, Ecuador's Diana Salaza, Micronesia's Sophia Pretrick, Guatemala's Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro, Guinea's Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Iraq's Dhuha A Mohammed, Kyrgyz Republic's Bolot Temirov, Libya's Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla, Sierra Leone's Francis Ben Kaifala, and Ukraine's Ruslan Ryaboshapka.
"They inspire us and so many of their counterparts pursuing these ideals around the world. The United States enforces one of the most robust anti-corruption frameworks in the world,” Blinken said.