In a gathering attended by more than a thousand party leaders in Bulacan on Saturday, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party-List Representative and House Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva rallied campaigners to win and finish strong this coming elections as he underscored the crucial role of an anti-corruption watchdog in Congress as the country recovers from the scars of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The economy is already opening and our country is on its way to recovery. However, the gains we expect from our efforts will only be stunted, if not negated, by the worsening state of corruption in the government. We need to carry on and further intensify our anti-corruption advocacy because it is an integral component of our roadmap to restoration. This is the mandate and calling of CIBAC. We need to fulfill it and carry it on,” said Villanueva who is the House Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness.
Based on the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the so-called international grading system of countries in the corruption perception, the Philippines scored 33 out of 100 – where 100 means a country is perceived clean while 0 is seen as highly corrupt. The nation ranked 117th out of 180 countries, a point and two notches lower than year 2020’s score and ranking – which is 34 and 115th, respectively. The Philippines’s score for the 2021 CPI is also below the average score of Asia-Pacific countries, which is 45.
According to estimates by the Office of the Ombudsman, around P700 billion of the national government’s budget is annually lost to corruption.
“Corruption will derail our efforts to recover from the scars of the pandemic. It will continue to siphon government resources away from needed programs and projects that will rescue Filipinos away from grinding poverty. CIBAC will return to Congress to serve as an objective fiscalizer of the use of public funds and resources. We will not allow corrupt and scrupulous elements in government to sabotage the recovery of the Filipino people who have been badly hit by the pandemic. Tuloy ang laban,” added Deputy Speaker Villanueva.
The CIBAC solon laid down the priority legislations that CIBAC will push in the next Congress which include, among others, Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, Foreign Debt Oversight bill, and a bill promoting government digital payment system to foster trust and transparency among taxpayers, thus improving revenue-generation.
In addition, CIBAC vows to conscientiously oversee the use of funds intended to aid the recovery of the agriculture sector and the micro-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs). Lastly, it will closely monitor the faithful implementation of the three laws it authored in Congress, namely: Republic Act (RA) 11476 GMRC and Values Education Law, RA 11509 Doktor para sa Bayan Law and RA 11731 or the Department of Migrant Workers Act. These laws were championed by CIBAC in Congress and shepherded in Senate by its Party Chairman Senator Joel Villanueva.
CIBAC is led by Deputy Speaker Villanueva as its 1st nominee with incumbent Congressman Domeng Rivera and practicing lawyer Atty. Cathy Valencia as its 2nd and 3rd nominees, respectively. It is number 105 in the ballot.