18 September 2012 – 500 participants from companies, NGOs, the academe, and government convened at the Hotel InterContinental in Makati City for the 2nd Integrity Summit, demonstrating that, though difficult, transcending the culture of corruption is indeed possible. Focusing on the theme “Driving Culture Change,” various public- and private-sector organizations presented the successful initiatives they have implemented towards institutionalizing ethics in their transactions and operations.
The Summit was opened by Integrity Initiative chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. (also the chairman of the Makati Business Club) who highlighted the strength and importance of collective action in achieving culture change. Del Rosario also reported on the achievements of the campaign since its beginning in December 2010, which includes increasing the number of Integrity Pledge signatories from 700 to about 1,500 and the launching of the online Integrity Self-Assessment tool where signatories can determine the strengths and areas of improvement in their integrity practices, among others.
Siemens Philippines President and CEO Jacky Chan discussed the connection between institutionalized integrity standards in the private sector and the creation of competitive market conditions. Narrating the reform story of Siemens, which was previously penalized by the World Bank, Chan said that positive culture change, despite complicated circumstances, is possible and ensures benefit for the company and the environment it operates in. He further briefed the audience on the various integrity projects being supported by the company worldwide.
“Picking up the can”
President Benigno S. Aquino III, also the guest of honor during the 1st Integrity Summit in September 2011, delivered the morning keynote address. Emphasizing throughout his speech that leadership with integrity yields growth, the President said that the administration’s good governance agenda has resulted in various positive developments in the country’s economy and competitiveness.
The President was also presented with the Integrity Consortium Cooperation Agreement, which features the commitment of 30 industry organizations towards strengthening integrity practices within different sectors of the private sector.
Following the President’s keynote, Social Weather Stations (SWS) president Mahar Mangahas presented the results of the 2012 SWS Annual Enterprise Survey on Corruption. The report, titled “The Fight Against Corruption has Radically Progressed Since 2009,” showed that the top performing government agency was the Office of the President, registering a +81 rating, compared to -37 in 2009. 16 other government bodies improved on their ratings as well.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson shared the successful reforms he instituted in an agency long-perceived to be among the government’s most corrupt, while Budget Secretary Butch Abad explained the innovations his department has instituted in ensuring that the budgeting process is as transparent and participative as possible. The secretaries expressed their willingness to require bidders for government projects to sign the Integrity Pledge before being considered eligible.
PPPs and integrity across the nation
International Finance Corporation resident representative Jesse Ang expounded on how public-private partnerships result in good governance, noting that the Integrity Initiative is a model PPP effort.
He was followed by PEZA director general Lilia de Lima, who explained good governance policies implemented inside economic zones. De Lima noted that PEZA was able to encourage more than 300 locators to sign the Integrity Pledge.
Representatives from business groups in Cebu, Iloilo, and Mindanao, meanwhile, shared their respective corporate governance practices, with C.M. Pancho Construction Inc., narrating the reforms they have put in place in their operations, allowing them to qualify to bid for World Bank-funded infrastructure projects.
BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, for her part, said that lack of patriotism has held back Philippine development. The Commissioner added that stricter rules and computerization of processes have been implemented to deter personnel from engaging in corrupt practices.
18 years of judicial stability
Welcomed by the delegates with a standing ovation, newly-installed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno delivered the afternoon keynote address. First explaining various challenges the judiciary is facing in case congestion and the lack of integrity of some of its members, she proposed reforms based on four pillars, which she intends to implement during her 18-year term.
The first pillar involves restoring the integrity and credibility of the judiciary through an Internal Affairs Office. The second pillar seeks to ensure the speedy, rational, and predictable disposition of cases. Improving judicial infrastructure through international best practices and digitization is the focus of the third pillar, while instituting effective human resource management would be the aim of the fourth pillar.
The chief magistrate ended her speech by assuring the delegates of her commitment to integrity. She shared her personal integrity pledge, which includes rules she has lived by even before she was appointed as chief justice. Among these rules include modest living, building a truthful reputation, and sensitivity to injustices being committed during her term, among others.
The 2nd Integrity Summit is organized by the Integrity Initiative, a private sector- led campaign aiming to promote common ethical standards among various sectors in society. Jointly implemented by the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), the campaign is also supported by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (Amcham), Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX).