The Philippines has fallen yet further down the world league of corruption, according to an annual study.
The Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 places the country at 101st out of 176 countries — in equal place with Gabon, Niger, Timor-Leste, Peru, Thailand and Trinidad & Tobago.
Last year the Philippines was recorded at 95th in the report issued by Berlin-based Transparency International.
The report ranks nations according to their perceived level of public sector corruption.
The top 10 of least corrupt nations is dominated by northern European nations — Germany and UK scraping in to tie in tenth place. The rest of the world is represented in the top 10 by Singapore, New Zealand (joint first with Denmark) and Canada. Australia comes in at 13, and the USA 18.
With regards to the Philippines, the report says it is still too soon to tell how Duterte’s war on drugs will have an impact on perceived corruption in the country.
The anti-graft watchdog said that while President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power with a promise to stop corruption, “the impact of death squads, attacks on media, and violent intimidation to the detriment of democracy and democratic institutions is yet to be seen in 2017”.
Since being elected more than 7,000 deaths have been linked to the crusade against drugs. It is also alleged that rogue police are exploiting a culture of impunity to kidnap for profit, as in the recently reported case of South Korean businessman Ji Ick Joo. (See our reports here and here.)
There has also a noticeable increase in attacks against journalists — who are often dubbed “presstitutes” by online commentators who disagree with their reports — and a proliferation of fake news and misinformation on social media.
In the Asia Pacific region as a whole, the vast majority of countries sit in the bottom half of the index.
“Poor performance can be attributed to unaccountable governments, lack of oversight, insecurity and shrinking space for civil society, pushing anti-corruption action to the margins in those countries,’ the report concluded.
The report also remarks on the rise of so-called “popularism” across the world.
Jose Ugaz, the chairman of Transparency International, said: “Populism is the wrong medicine. In countries with populist or autocratic leaders, we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary.
“Instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems.”
The report’s statement concluded that “deep-rooted” reforms were needed worldwide to tackle the inequality and systemic corruption that have proved such “fertile ground” for populists.
Strife-torn Somalia was at the bottom of the list for the 10th year running, followed by South Sudan, North Korea, and Syria.
Qatar suffered the biggest fall of the year, which is blamed on the numerous corruption claims linked to the country’s 2022 Football World Cup bid.