Is corruption harming the health of Filipinos? What will Manny do about this?
Corruption harmful to Philippines' health - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune
By Seth Mydans
Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
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CloseLinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalinkMANILA: — Election campaigns are a great thing for Joeje Tubal, a nurse's aide at a small government-run clinic here.
That's when local officials bring out the vaccines, vitamins and painkillers they have hoarded for just this occasion - to show their generosity to voters.
"They'll hold medical missions here and give things away," Tubal said. "Even health workers' allowances increase at election time. We get free meals. That's where the health budget goes, to elections. If there were no elections we'd get nothing."
Doctors say that some of these medications expire or lose their potency through lack of refrigeration as officials delay their release to clinics to achieve maximum political effect.
"It happens a lot," said Philip Paraan, information officer for the Council for Health and Development, a private health network. "It's everywhere. Everyone knows about it. Corruption here is overwhelming, and that includes the health care field."
The use of medications as political pork is just one of many forms of corruption in medical care that a recent study by Transparency International, an independent agency that tracks corruption around the world, showed was directly harming the health of Filipinos.
One of the authors of the study, Omar Azfar, said the picture in the Philippines was not unusual for developing nations. In the study, released in February, Transparency International compared indicators of corruption and health in a controlled study of 80 communities around the country.
It found that for every 10 percent increase in corruption, immunization rates dropped as much as 20 percent, waiting time in public clinics increased as much as 30 percent and user satisfaction dropped 30 percent. It also found that children were one-fourth as likely to complete their courses of vaccination.
"It does reinforce the idea that there's nothing you can do," said Michael Tan, a medical anthropologist at the University of the Philippines. "We are a poor country, but we do have resources. They just get swallowed up by corruption."
In its 2005 report on worldwide corruption, Transparency International placed the Philippines in 117th place out of 159 countries in a listing that ran from the cleanest down to the most corrupt.
The UN Development Program estimated in 2004 that $1.8 billion a year, or about 13 percent of the government's annual budget, is lost to corruption.
The Philippines is trapped in a cycle of corruption that has its roots in a culture of mutual help and obligation, family loyalties and political patronage. Poverty, low pay and a breakdown in services have led to a free-for-all of payoffs and pilferage.
People here say corruption has only grown in the 20 years since Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator, found a place in the Guinness Book of Records for squirreling away as much as $10 billion of the nation's wealth.
In a recent survey, according to Transparency International, 7 in 10 Filipinos said corruption had grown significantly worse over the past three years.
Accusations of electoral corruption are behind a swelling drive to force President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign. Her predecessor, Joseph Estrada, was driven from office by a popular uprising that grew out of disclosures of presidential corruption.
The two most recent military coup attempts have been motivated in large part by a perception of pervasive corruption in the government and the armed forces.
Because it involves some of the country's most powerful people, efforts to combat corruption have not gotten far. According to a presidential commission in 2003, only 6 percent of cases taken to a special anti-corruption court resulted in convictions.
"These are prominent and wealthy people, and they hire the best lawyers money can buy," said Simeon Marcelo, a former government ombudsman who worked to improve the conviction rate and who reported that statistic.
He declined to comment on the role of corruption within the anti-corruption court itself.
In its report, Transparency International said corruption in the field of health care costs tens of billions of dollars a year around the world.
According to one estimate, it said, annual earnings from the sale of counterfeit drugs alone was more than $30 billion.
The report on the Philippines was based on data first published in 2001 by Azfar and Tugrul Gurgur, who are based at the University of Maryland, College Park.
- Anonymous10 years agoFavorite Answer
when wasn't the Philippines ever in corruption? stupid and you say you know the Philippines...
and what is this have to do with boxing? go take your garbage elsewhere
- 10 years ago
Look at how Pac makes every floydiot in this world interested about Pac's country. No wonder the world INCLUDING the USA embrasses pac.
and did you know that Pac's got a MINDstyle action figure? hmmm...
i'm sure Floyd's gonna buy one too..hahaha
theres no stopping Pac's fame now. even w/ that PED accusation still they made toys of pac..
it shows whatever the mayweathers/floydiots say or do it doesn't affect Pac at all.
Floydiots got left nothing to do and blame it on the pacfans! ahahaha
- 10 years ago
Manny Pacquiao Knocks Gayweather out in the 2nd
- Anonymous10 years ago
And Martin a.k.a. Carytop the Transgender lover is calling Filipinos racists? LOL!
Get a life.
@$hitman - stilthouse disease?? What is that, something we can all catch from your mom's snatch, you spearchucking 40 ounce swilling douchebag?
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- odlanyerLv 610 years ago
THIS IS BOXING? Did you run out of boxing subject. BUTT OUT ON PHILIPPINES AFFAIR. US has a lot of problem of its own and you want to discuss somebody else problem?
- 10 years ago
This question is not about boxing.... And you are saying that Pacfans are racist????? I'll put you in report.