Zambo business sector urged to stop corruption

An “Integrity Pledge” is being passed around in Zamboanga City, urging business leaders to help stop corruption.

In a letter, Pedro Rufo N. Soliven, chair of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. urged members to support the anti- corruption movement dubbed “Integrity Initiative.”

“We are endorsing this initiative by inviting you to sign the Integrity Pledge.  Your signing the pledge is a clear demonstration of your commitment to ethical practices.  Corruption will not stop after signing the pledge but signatories to the pledge will lead the private sector in continuously pushing for changes towards good governance and transparency. With your help, this is possible,” Soliven said.

“We grant that entirely wiping out corruption might be a tall order, but we certainly intend to make a significant difference in terms of cutting the scale and depth of corruption in our country.  Government has been very supportive of this campaign,” he added.

The Integrity Pledge was launched last September by a consortium of 21 groups and associations that includes business organization, such as the Makati Business Club.

The movement calls for the organizations to follow the Unified Code of Conduct that aims to make a significant dent in the fight against corruption, especially in the private sector

The 1st Integrity Summit was held at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, where President Benigno Aquino III, the summit’s keynote speaker, was presented with a copy of the document, the Makati Business Club said.

“The Unified Code of Conduct is intended to guide companies who have joined the Integrity Initiative campaign and signed an Integrity Pledge. The Code describes how company executives and rank-and-file employees can uphold the highest standards of ethics in all their transactions. It has sections for top management, human resources, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, procurement, and logistics,” the business club said.

Last year, the Philippines was ranked fourth for being most corrupt in the 16 major Asia-Pacific investment destinations. The survey was made by the Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, which provides strategic business information and analysis for companies doing business in East and Southeast Asia

Rufino said they support the initiative for “creating a wider coalition of companies and organizations that clamor for change in doing business under fair market conditions, promoting ethical business practices, and ensuring that corruption is kept under check.”

In its website, the Integrity Initiative program main objective is to cultivate a culture of integrity as a basis for improving the competitiveness of the Philippines. It seeks to put in place integrity systems and controls in both the private and public sectors.

The initiative was crafted by the Makati Business Club, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Asian Institute of Management through its Hills Program on Governance, the Management Association of the Philippines, and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, with the critical support of the German industrial giant Siemens.

The business groups expect more than 1,000 firms to sign the Integrity Pledge before end this year (Darwin Wally Wee/MindaNews)