Business community launch campaign to fight corruption

The Philippine business community has launched an anti-corruption project that it hopes would stop government from dealing with crooks and eradicate corruption in the business arena.

Chief executives of 300 large to small companies, both foreign and local owned, have signed up with the Integrity Initiative funded by a $1 million grant from Siemens AG.

The Makati Business Club (MBC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) have banded together to initiate this campaign, Integrity Initiative.

The project will come out with a certification system for “clean” companies, which would have first crack at government projects, said Makati Business Club chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr.
Del Rosario said the campaign will start with certifying companies as compliant with ethical business practices. Later, government will be asked to limit its dealings to integrity-certified companies.
“Once a standard is in place, there would be recognition. No one wants to be corrupt. It costs us money,” he said. “When the competitor engages in corruption, it distorts the playing field.”
“Corruption steals from the poor,” said Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

Schumacher said because of corruption, the poor do not get the products and services they deserve.
Schumacher said Integrity Initiative would give the Philippines a competitive advantage as an investment destination.

Schumacher said the Initiative is being rolled out under a four-year plan.
“This takes a long time. It is not enough that CEOs sign up for the Initiative. They have to walk the talk, with zero tolerance for bribery,” Schumacher said.
He added that if one has integrity, one pays the proper taxes and takes care of people and of the environment.

Aside from MBC and ECCP, groups supporting the Initiative include the Management Association of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and Coalition against Corruption
Schumacher said Integrity Initiative was started by the European Chamber of Commerce in late 2009 because it was “upset about the lack of integrity that led to the global financial and then economic crisis in 2007/2008.”
(Story courtesy of Malaya)

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