Issues of corruption in the government have been in the headlines for decades. There are those that are barely covered in the media such as small-scale corruption at the barangay level, and there are others that are high-profile and widely-reported, such as the recent issue with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the missing P15 billion fund reportedly stolen by its executives.
And while many politicians are always under public scrutiny for corruption issues, there are also others who are widely applauded for their active works against corruption— such as the first-termer Pasig City Mayor, Vico Sotto. (Read: Pasig City Raises P1.2 Billion to Buy Gadgets for Online Classes)
Ever since he assumed the position as leader of Pasig, Mayor Vico has been very transparent about his works in the government— religiously releasing every receipt for procurements, informing the public where their taxes go to, and making sure every Pasigueño gets the service they deserve from their taxes paid.
Admittedly, Mayor Vico has been taking the lead on good governance— and many Filipinos can attest to this. Which is why it’s no surprise that the 31-year-old mayor has caught international attention and was named one of the ‘12 International Anticorruption Champions‘ of the US Department of State!
In a press statement published on Tuesday, the US State Department named Mayor Vico as an Anticorruption Champion. He was given the recognition alongside Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala.
According to the US State Department, Mayor Vico is a “standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anticorruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office.” (Read: 3 Times Lolo Kiko Proved He Was Serious About Fighting Corruption)
They added that even in his term as councilor, the incumbent mayor has taken steps to become more transparent in governance— allowing constituents to request documents without the need for a justification.
A Transparent Leader
In his two years of serving as Mayor of Pasig (he was elected in 2019), Sotto has been constantly getting public approval for good governance. (Read: Bea Alonzo Meets ‘Mama’s Favorite’ Vico Sotto in Pasig Relief Effort)
For Christmas last year, netizens were pleased to see that Mayor Vico posted the complete list and prices of the items included in their Christmas package. He also explained how the procurement will go, saying that the “winning bidder” will get to choose the brand of the items.
“Ang kailangan lang po ay pasok sa specifications [of the local government],” he said, also referencing the Government Procurement Act.
And back in 2019, during his first few months in position, Mayor Vico gladly announced that the local government saved P150 million through transparent and open public bidding for their projects.
“I have instructed that across the board, all Approved Budget of Contracts (ABC) be reduced by a MINIMUM of 10%. (Puwedeng gawin dahil hindi naman ako tumatanggap ng kickback.),” he wrote in a Facebook post.
And while the young mayor admits that cleaning the local government of corruption is difficult, he says it is still possible.
“It’s hard to introduce change in a very bureaucratic, procedural, and rigid government,” he says. “So, in the end, it is really just a matter of finding the right balance.”