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TIMELINE: anti-corruption initiatives in the Philippines. Must Read This!

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has a long history of corruption embedded in its institutions. Historians say that the narratives go as far back as the Spanish era when encomienderos, or the tax collectors, kept the supposed monarch tribute for themselves.

Over 3 decades ago, dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos empowered cronies, siphoned government wealth, and left the country in 1986 with an astounding $26.7 billion in foreign debt. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data)

The government has since passed several laws to combat corruption.

In 2010, President Benigno Aquino Jr captured the presidency, running on an anti-corruption platform, Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path). Believed to have won in part because of the alleged corruption of the previous Arroyo administration, he pursued a number of reform initiatives.

Yet despite the laws and reform initiatives, the Philippines is still perceived as one of the most corrupt nations in the Asia Pacific region.

Perceptions regarding the level of corruption in the country somewhat improved for the period 2012 through 2014. By 2014, the Philippines ranked 85th out of 175 countries, up from its ranking of 94th in 2013 and 105th in 2012.

As the country approached the 2016 elections, however, the Philippines' corruption perception ratings dipped again. In the 2015 CPI report, it slid to 95th among 168 countries included in the CPI with a score of 35 out of a possible 100.

Observers say that, to a large extent, it is discontent over Tuwid na Daan that fomented the social media-powered movement that propelled Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency under the rallying call: "Change is coming."

The big question is: what needs to be done next?

SOURCE : Rappler.com

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