Senate President Drilon, Speaker Belmonte Jr., Chief Justice Sereno, Ombudsman Morales, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, distinguished members of the Cabinet and other officials, partners from the development community, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Magandang Umaga sa Inyong Lahat (Good morning to all)! Buenos Dias!
I am very happy to be invited to this conference to talk on governance and the World Bank Group’s support in this area. Why? Because governance is at the heart of this administration’s social contract with the Filipino people. And it is also at the heart of my job, as I lead the World Bank Group’s Global Practice Group on Governance.
The conference today is one of the milestones on your straight path. It is a good venue to take stock of what you have achieved, where you are and where you want to go. This event focuses on the Philippines’ achievements under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It brings together the heads of the three branches of government, the constitutional commissions, key government agencies, and the development partners. This is indeed the strong and broad-based coalition needed to combat the forces of corruption.
My remarks will focus on two things: the World Bank Group’s global support to governance and anti-corruption, and our specific support to the Philippines.
Bank Global Support to Governance and Anti-corruption (GAC)
With the rise of the anticorruption movement in the mid-1990s, the World Bank Group expanded its governance program beyond public finance and civil service management to support new accountability institutions, the rule of law, and legal and judicial reform. We are undertaking major efforts to address corruption in programs we support, by encouraging corruption reporting in our projects, investigating and sanctioning entities that resort to fraud and corruption, and working with sanctioned firms to improve their integrity compliance standards.
“What works is when governments know citizens are watching.” I have said that on many occasions. The Bank is now working on “demand side” governance issues, deepening our engagement with civil society and citizens. You are already applying this idea. You have opened budgets, expenditures, procurement, contract implementation, disbursements and payment records and documents for the citizens to see, review and analyze. You have disclosed where citizens’ taxes are being spent. Around the world, the importance of putting in place mechanisms to hear and respond to people’s demands for accountability and participation is being recognized. To put it differently, good governance is about nurturing inclusive institutions: institutions which allow citizens’ voices to be heard, whether that is in service delivery, policy-making or budgeting.
As Senior Director of the Governance Global Practice, my team is working to help government meet the challenge of building open, responsive, and accountable institutions that achieve their development objectives while including and protecting their citizens.
Our vision is one of trustworthy institutions for development.
These approaches have helped many of our clients make impressive gains in governance. We are prepared to do more to support our partner countries, such as the Philippines, in their quest for good governance.
Bank GAC support to Philippines:
In the Philippines, there are a number of governance related projects that I want to mention. Let me first congratulate the Office of the President through ODESLA and the Office of the Ombudsman for the development of an Integrity Management Program or IMP which is being scaled up to nation-wide implementation through the forthcoming issuance of an executive order. I was informed that our integrity (INT) vice presidency expert, who was here recently to review the program, concluded that the IMP is cutting edge, and she has started recommending it as a model for other countries.
Moreover, the Ombudsman is implementing the modernization of the system for asset disclosure called the Statement of Asset and Liabilities and Networth to make it a more efficient anti-corruption tool. The Bank is supporting this initiative.
Your Open Data initiative has reinforced accountability at all levels. One example of this is your PhilGEPS Dashboard where, I was informed, nearly 10 million procurement and contracts data are now available for public viewing, scrutiny and analysis. These innovative programs make it easy and convenient for citizens to participate in ensuring public service delivery. Similar tools are now being used to monitor assistance for people affected by Typhoon Yolanda. In fact, just recently, one of the 14 winners of the Bank’s big data challenge award went to the Open Roads Philippines entry where geospatial road network data can now be linked to frontline images and videos uploaded from mobile phones.
Under the leadership of President Aquino, the Philippines doubled government budgets for social services and made performance-informed budgeting the norm. We note that citizens increasingly see the conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilya, as an instrument to realize their rights to education or health care.
All these are commendable measures that would facilitate efficient public service with integrity, and ensure the governance and anti-corruption programs are sustainable and irreversible.
All this is for citizens, and if this responds to their needs and concerns, they will respond with their trust. Citizen trust in institutions makes policies more effective as people become more co-operative, understanding and predictable.
The Bank’s governance global practice is here to learn from this country’s achievements and help you accomplish even more. We will be prepared to work more with you, as you may request, to identify and implement practical solutions to your toughest governance challenges. And we will support the measurement and global dissemination of your results, to speed progress in other countries.
In closing, I am happy to let you know that I am also here in the Philippines to prepare for an international conference on good governance, in which the WBG President, Jim Kim, would participate, sometime early next year. That event, just like this one, would be another milestone on the straight path. The path without corruption. The path without poverty.