Dynamics in International Campaigns and National Implementation

International anti-corruption movement
Ma. Glenda S. Lopez Wui

Public opinion surveys, the media, and anti-corruption watchdogs attest to the prevalence of corruption in the Philippines. Describing the extent of corruption in the Philippines, Joel Rocamora likens it to cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to all offices of government. Consequently, the anti-corruption movement is very much alive in the Philippines. The existence of these civil society groups is made possible largely by the greater democratic space evident in the Philippines after the 1986 People Power Revolution. Another factor that caused their increase in number is the fact that by the 1990s, donor agencies concerned about the hemorrhaging of meager government resources due to corruption, began funding efforts of NGOs against corrupt activities.

The apparatus of civil society groups involved in anti-corruption work varies. Some engage in watchdog work. A few do research to help understand the problem and its debilitating effect on society. Others strive simply to draw attention to the issue and help correct society’s seeming powerlessness in the face of graft and corruption. There are actually four major approaches found in the anti-corruption continuum: a) conscientization and promotion, b) deterrence and prevention, c) detection and investigation, and d) prosecution and conviction.

This study aims to examine two important anti-corruption organizations in the Philippines: Transparency and Accountability Network, the biggest coalition of NGOs involved in anti-corruption work in the country, and the Philippine chapter of Transparency International. The main hypothesis of the study is that even though anti-corruption groups are present in the country, they have not been successful in substantially eradicating corruption in government because the needed reforms in the bureaucracy are not yet in place. Hence, anti-corruption campaigners link up with powerful allies in government and mobilize a mass following among the public in order to institute the needed reforms.

(Photo credit: Walang Ku-Corrupt)

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