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Vicious Du30 spins ‘no deal breakers’



The backlash in efforts to demonize President Duterte has dulled and in terms of diplomatic relations, the harsh allegations against him are no deal breakers, international think tank Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA) said yesterday.
Alek Chance, PSA analyst, told The Tribune that Mr. Duterte is in a strong position politically since most of the topics that foreign governments take issue with (him) have been out in the open for a while now, “and ties aren’t likely to get worse.”
“On the contrary, many countries have come to terms with Duterte’s new style and are trying to find ways to improve relations,” he said.
He added that this doesn’t mean that criticisms mainly on the war on drugs will go away.
“Many western leaders face both political and policy constraints that won’t permit them to drop the subject, but this doesn’t mean that the issue has to be a deal breaker for Philippines ties with any given country,” he said.
Critics have recently exploited a string of detrimental reports on Mr. Duterte primarily the annual report of Amnesty International (AI), the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International (TI) and Global Assessment report of the US Intelligence Community that all noted human rights and corruption issues against Mr. Duterte to call for more international pressure against the Duterte administration.

Chance said foreigners have taken note of a few high-profile issues where Mr. Duterte has adopted some controversial approaches and rhetoric, like the war on drugs.
He associated it with “the trends of our times” which “is the clear decline of liberal democracy around the world.”
“As such, foreign observers are particularly sensitive to any signs that a given country will become part of this trend, so certain policies and certain rhetoric are going to invite a lot of scrutiny,” he added.
He added foreign journalists and politicians also don’t necessarily evaluate the President’s “whole policy portfolio” because things like tax reform and infrastructure development just aren’t going to capture global attention in the same way.
Chance was referring to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law which multilateral financial institutions have hailed as a decisive move that took a lot of political will to pass but was crucial in sustaining the country’s strong economic growth.
“The president enjoys a lot of political capital at home for being an outsider, for pushing much needed infrastructure development, and for taking decisive action in other areas, but these things won’t gather much outside attention until some concrete results can be demonstrated,” Chance said.
He added that for many Westerners, “perceived problems in the realm of political, civil, and human rights will always outweigh progress on other fronts.”
TI score not conclusive
Anti-Duterte groups have also capitalized on the recent drop in the country’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of TI as proof that corruption has worsened under Mr. Duterte despite the TI report showing a one-point drop in the CPI score of the Philippines from last year.
Chance said the difference in the score this year from last year was not conclusive.
“The first thing to point out about the Philippines’ new CPI score is that a one-point drop is not statistically significant,” he said.
“In other words, we can’t really know if the decline is the result of real changes on the ground, or just slight variation in how the data are collected, or which survey respondents were available from one year to the next,” he said.
He said that attention should be given “to significant, multi-year trends.”
“CPI published a list of countries experiencing statistically significant changes, and the smallest such change was six points. In other words, Transparency International doesn’t think this one point drop means much,” he added.
He also noted the CPI is a composite indicator of 13 different surveys.
“A survey of this kind isn’t very sensitive to short-term policy developments or issues in the news. So similar to how only big shifts in the score will tell us that real policy changes are at work, only real, sustained policy changes will be able to make a dent in the score,” he added.
“The upshot is that this is is something to track over the long term, not to focus on the ups and downs.
“Another thing to note about the methodology is that while TI’s website uses a narrative to describe some causes to the decline of SE Asian states’ scores, their data technically can’t tell us why a score has gone up or down,” Chance said.
A lot of TI’s narrative about trends is just speculation or interpolation, he said.
Chance said while the CPI gets a lot of attention, “there are several other studies out there that can offer interesting insights on the state of corruption.”
“The CPI isn’t the definitive study. There’s data from the World Bank, World Economic Forum, the Heritage Foundation, and others. Looking at these data is helpful because a lot of it is broken down into different components—bribery vs. nepotism, for example, or how different sectors compare,” Chance said.
He added these studies are reminders “that while corruption is a systemic problem for a country, there is a lot of variation. One sector in a low-CPI country can be clean, while another sector in a “clean” country might have a high incidence of corruption, based on a number of factors, he added.
Good as benchmark
“In short, an index like this may be a good benchmark for policymakers as they take stock of systemic issues, but from a business perspective, a more granular, on-the-ground evaluation process is necessary,” Chance said.
He added that in assessing business risks, the CPI and other data can help contextualize risks, but they really only provide background for an assessment.
“With a proper evaluation of third party corruption risks, a business can adopt appropriate strategies to mitigate these risks and succeed in poorly scoring countries,” he said.
He ceded that it can’t be ignored that the Philippines’ score “isn’t very impressive, and a lot of work needs to be done to improve the country’s standing.”
“Experts agree that corruption is a complex systemic problem that involves both policies and social attitudes, and is also cyclically tied to poor economic performance. In short, there won’t be any quick fix, so nobody should get frustrated if new policies don’t produce instant results,” he added.
Efforts to fight graft ongoing
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a statement yesterday, said that President Duterte is doing his best to curb malpractice within the state bureaucracy.
“We have to underscore that corruption is a problem that cannot be solved overnight; thus, we are taking the results of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, which shows our 111th (out of 180) ranking, seriously,” Roque said.
“President Duterte likewise gave a stern warning to government officials and employees that he would not tolerate corruption during his watch,” he added.
The CPI showed the Philippines placed 111th out of 180 countries surveyed, with a score of 34 from 35 last year when it ranked 101st out of 176.
The report said the Philippines, India and the Maldives scored high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths.
Roque, who claims to be a press freedom advocate, denied that journalists are not being safe under Mr. Duterte’s watch.
“There is no truth that we have fewer press freedom. Our media are still able to broadcast and print or publish what they want – fake news included,” Roque said.
“Filipinos are free to air their grievances with the President even declaring an unprecedented Day of Protest,” he added.
Notably, Roque’s claims on upholding press freedom came days after Malacañang barred a journalist belonging to an online news organization that has a reputation of being critical of the Duterte administration.
The Palace official, moreover, rallied more Filipinos to back the administration’s war on corruption.
“Fighting corruption needs everyone’s cooperation,” Roque said.
“The government cannot do it alone. Citizens must be vigilant and report corruption,” he added.
Chito Lozada, Ted Tuvera



  • dfngr

    It is more than that.

    The international interference, malice and media-manipulation and lies has kindled a sort of awareness and nationalism in the majority, to the extent never achieved by any media and disinformation blitz.

    U.S and E.U must change its approach. Simple plain real respect for a people who wants to do better in an independent way.

    dfngr Saturday, 24 February 2018 15:47 Comment Link
  • The Eye

    Thank you Abnungski and Milan. Mabuhay ang Katotohanan!!!

    The Eye Saturday, 24 February 2018 09:42 Comment Link
  • Milan

    Here are the best indications of a very significant reduction in corruption:
    1. Taxpayers' money is now used for free education in SCU's. In Aquino's government these billions went to his pockets and to his cronies' pockets
    2. Salaries of soldiers and policemen have been doubled. Their allowances have been increased significantly. In Aquino's government these billions in the budget went to his pockets and his cronies' pockets.
    3. Healthcare for the poor is now free, courtesy of taxpayers' money. In Aquino's government all these billions went to his pockets and his family's pockets.
    4. FDI - Foreign Direct Investments are at an all time high. In Aquino's government foreign investors were fleeced by his family and cronies for bribes before they could do business in the Philippines.
    5. Billions in back taxes have been collected from oligarchs like Lucio Tan and the owner of Mighty Cigarettes. In Aquino's government all these oligarchs need to do was give a bribe and they would not have to pay taxes.
    6. Prieto, the big time squatter at Mile Long finally was forced to turn over the prime government property to the government. In Aquino's government Prieto just made sure that Inquirer published fake news to praise Aquino and attack his political enemies.
    7. In just a few months the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims were given FREE homes. In Aquino's time the billions of local and foreign donations were stolen while the Yolanda refugees lived in tents.

    Milan Saturday, 24 February 2018 09:11 Comment Link
  • The Eye

    Where do find more believable materials to read? CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, BBC, INQ, Rappler, ABS-CBN or, even, The Manila Times or The Daily Tribune? Objectively, find and decipher what the Rating Companies what they have to say: Standard and Poors, A.M.Best, Moody's, and Fitch's. Why do they have to be objective to the truth as much as possible? These companies can't afford to make mistakes. They don't broadcast fake numbers, news, and assumptions. Just one mistake will cost them their multibillion dollar business.

    So far, these Rating Companies are writing good reviews about the Philippines. If it can be permitted, Rating Companies findings can be use to slap against the Yellow critics, AI, TI, Human Rights Groups, and to the other headaches of this government including the CBCP. In my opinion, the CBCP's influence is waning throughout the years because of their lies.

    The Eye Saturday, 24 February 2018 08:36 Comment Link
  • Abningski

    The result on the corruption index is only a matter of perception; what counts most is what really is happening on the ground...tumgil tigil na nga kayo ng index index na yan! Majority of the Filipino People are happy that we have a president who has the political will and anti-corrupt.

    Abningski Saturday, 24 February 2018 05:57 Comment Link

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