Gov’t may have lost ₱1.4 trillion in the past two years due to corruption – Deputy Ombudsman

By Gerg Cahiles, CNN Philippines

Deputy Ombudsman Cyril Ramos reckons that the government might have lost to corruption around ₱1.4 trillion in the past two years.

In a speech Friday, Ramos, using 2017 United Nations Development Programme’s estimates, said corruption loss in the Philippines equated to 20 percent of its annual government appropriation.

The government’s national budget in 2017 was ₱3.35 trillion. It went up to ₱3.76 trillion in 2018.

“This translates to about ₱670 billion and ₱752 billion computed lost to corruption in those two years,” Ramos said during the National Summit on Crime Prevention of the National Police Commission event.

The deputy ombudsman explained the estimated amount lost to corruption in 2018 could have been used for the construction of 1.4 million housing units for the poor. The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council’s pegged social housing cost is at ₱500,000 each unit.

He noted the said amount could have also been used to provide medical or educational assistance for at least seven million Filipinos annually.

“There are many more ‘what ifs’ on what can be spent for ₱700 billion annually: modern hospitals, airports, schools, irrigation facilities, better salaries, decent housing, armaments, and so on,” Ramos added.

During the two-day event, the deputy ombudsman likewise gave recommendations on how the government can attain a corruption-intolerant criminal justice system. These include:

-Establishing a robust Complaints and Case Management System (CCMS);

-Having continuous capacity building initiatives; and

-Becoming men and women of integrity.

“We may never totally eradicate or defeat corruption in our lifetime. But if we can inspire and marshal the youth to join our duty in fighting corruption, and embrace it as their own, then we have won the war on corruption,” Ramos added.

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