Unlocking progress: the Philippines advances in anti-corruption measures

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Manila (Philippines), 10 November 2023 - Corruption remains a significant obstacle to development globally and throughout the Southeast Asia region. In a joint effort to reinforce the Philippines’ commitment to combating corruption, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Presidential United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Inter-Agency Committee Secretariat hosted a workshop in Manila today.

“The fight against corruption is not a solitary endeavour. It requires a collective will, an international partnership that transcends borders and differences. In this room, we have the collective expertise and experience to drive change. This workshop is our opportunity to leverage that expertise and experience for the betterment of societies in the Philippines and around the world,” said UNODC Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor for Southeast Asia Annika Wythes.

Through open dialogue, knowledge sharing, and collaborative problem solving, the workshop facilitated a comprehensive review of UNCAC implementation in the Philippines, identifying specific areas requiring attention and generating actionable recommendations for more effective anti-corruption efforts. Some of these areas included exiting the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by increasing the country’s anti-money laundering measures and addressing the pending FATF recommendations.

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Amending the extradition legislation was also suggested, along with regulating virtual asset providers, strengthening beneficial ownership transparency, enhancing public procurement and audits, addressing challenges pertaining to bank secrecy, providing for whistleblower protection, reviewing compliance with income and asset declarations, ensuring freedom of information, further facilitating non-State actor engagement in decision-making processes, and enhancing communication.

“While we acknowledge that there are challenges yet to be overcome on legislation on whistleblower protection and measures against bribery in the private sector, we have seen successes in the Government Procurement Policy Board’s Online Blacklisting Portal and the forthcoming development of a code of ethics for procurement officials. These achievements underscore the dedication of the Philippines to set higher standards in the fight against corruption,” said Daniele Marchesi, UNODC Country Manager for the Philippines.

United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNCAC stands as the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in October 2003 and in force since December 2005, it boasts of 190 States Parties, including the Philippines. The Philippines has undergone two review cycles within the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism, focusing on criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation (Chapters III and IV) in the first cycle, and preventive measures and asset recovery (Chapters II and V) in the second cycle. These reviews offer valuable insights into the Philippines’ anti-corruption efforts, serving as a roadmap for improvement and technical assistance. The initial review took place in 2012, with reviewers from Bangladesh and Egypt, and the second in 2019, with reviewers from Niue and South Africa.

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This activity was funded by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Korea (KMOJ) in its support to further UNCAC implementation in the Southeast Asian region.

More information:

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s anti-corruption efforts in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s work in the Philippines.

Click here to access a summary of a training workshop on Beneficial Ownership Data for Law Enforcement Agencies in the Philippines.

Click here to access a summary of a Forensic Accounting Training for the Office of the Ombudsman held in the Philippines.

Click here to access a description of a Roundtable Discussion on Asset Recovery held in the Philippines.