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UK commits to help fight graft

Embassy to support project on transparency and accountability in local government

British Ambassador Stephen Lillie at the launch British Ambassador Stephen Lillie at the launch
  • John Francis Lagman, Quezon City
  • Philippines
  • September 16, 2011
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The British embassy launched a joint project to promote transparency and accountability in local government finance yesterday in a ceremony at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.

It marks a “small but significant step forward in the United Kingdom’s continued commitment to transparency,” Ambassador Stephen Lillie said of the project between the British embassy, Reforms for Economic Development (CODE RED) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“In this interconnected world, one country’s prosperity supports another country’s growth," Lillie said during the launch ceremony attended by about 100 people.

Transparency and consistent policies are needed to create the right conditions for business success and sustainable growth in the Philippines, he explained.

The Philippines ranked 134th out of 178 countries in Transparency International's corruption perceptions index. Project bidding anomalies, kickback and other forms of graft have been cited as major obstacles to investment and economic development.

The CODE RED-DILG project intends to provide a venue for local government units and civil society organizations to work together for development. A team of experts will conduct workshops in selected units covering local planning, revenue generation, budgeting, procurement, and auditing processes.

The project is headed by Professor Leonor Briones, convenor of Social Watch Philippines and a former national treasurer.

“The amount of money being given to local governments is nearly as much as that of the national government. No one pays as much attention to it as we do to funding at national level. It’s important for taxpayers to know what their local government is doing,” Briones noted.

Engaging religious groups in the non-sectarian project is "important" to Briones.

“Faith-based groups have strong convictions and are courageous" because they approach corruption as "an issue of morality, not just legal or government issues," Briones said.
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