January 4, 2016 · Posted in: 2016 Elections, Seminar

Call for Applications

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is conducting a series of Investigative Reporting Seminar on Elections and Campaign Finance. Supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the series of seminar-workshops will be open for journalists and citizen media from NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The first leg of the series is open for journalists and citizen media from NCR and Luzon. This is set on January 21-24, 2016 at The Bayleaf Intramuros. Deadline of applications is on January 8, 2016 (Friday).

You may download the application form at http://bit.ly/PCIJ-IR2016-Application

For more details about the seminar, please get in touch with the PCIJ Training Desk at training@pcij.org or (02) 434-6193.

application

December 24, 2015 · Posted in: General

Season’s Greetings!

< PCIJ holiday greetings 2015

“The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.”

This message, from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, offers a strong narrative for the global observance tomorrow, December 9, of International Anti-Corruption Day.

Break the Corruption Chain— that is the theme that run though the global campaign led by the United Nations and its partner civil society organizations around the world.

This year’s event focuses on how corruption “undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.”

The campaign #breakthechain also highlights that corruption is a cross-cutting crime, impacting many areas. It shows that acting against corruption is imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

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Corruption, the UN notes, “is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.”

Corruption “attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes.”

Even more tragic, “economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption”

On 31 October 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (Resolution 58/4).

The Assembly also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are at the forefront of these efforts.

The government of the Philippines is a state party signatory to UNCAC.

Message of Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, on International Anti-Corruption Day

Global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically. Where once bribery, corruption and illicit financial flows were often considered part of the cost of doing business, today corruption is widely — and rightly — understood as criminal and corrosive.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.

Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials.

Corruption exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a comprehensive platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and individual citizens. Through prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and assets recovery, the Convention advances global progress toward ending corruption.

On International Anti-Corruption Day, I call for united efforts to deliver a clear message around the world that firmly rejects corruption and embraces instead the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. This will benefit communities and countries, helping to usher in a better future for all.

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THE UNITED NATIONS will lead the global observance of International Anti-Corruption Day on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Its theme highlights a global clamor — Break the Corruption Chain!

In the Philippines, the Office of the Ombudsman, in partnership with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, will mark the day with the conduct of an inaugural “Philippine Data Summit.” Its theme, a clamor of all Filipinos, — Open Data We Want, Open Data We Need, Open Up Government.

The forum will be held from 8 am to 5 pm at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel in Quezon City.

Organized by the Office of the Ombudsman and the PCIJ, the event is being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

The Summit celebrates the shared, firm resolve of state agencies, civil society organizations, civil servants, professionals, academe, and private sector to take the first steps in building a meaningful open data infrastructure that could serve as a pillar of good governance, transparency, and accountability in the Philippines.

It assumes greater urgency and relevance in light of the synchronized national, legislative, and local elections on May 9, 2016 that will usher in a new political administration.

Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit (recently appointed Undersecretary-General for Oversight Services of the United Nations) will deliver the keynote address. Commissioner Mendoza is the original proponent of the conduct of this multi-stakeholder national data summit.

A panel of resource persons will discuss thematic issues in the data supply-demand chain. They include:

* Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera, who is also lead prosecutor in the pork-related corruption/plunder cases pending with the Sandiganbayan;

* Budget Undersecretary Richard Bon Moya of the Open Data Task Force of the Philippines;

* Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, lead convenor of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition; and

* Mr. Mario Demarillas of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners-Philippines.

The Summit and subsequent activities seek to achieve the following objectives:

* Harness the supply-demand chain of data on public policy and governance from the perspective of data producers and data users.

* Enhance the skills, capacity, and practice of all stakeholders in appreciating, accessing, sorting, analyzing, and popularizing data with governance metrics to inform public policy discourse, advocacy, and state-citizen engagement.

* Promote the cross-training, data-sharing, and institutionalization of data teams of content producers and tech teams in public agencies and civil society.

* Foster media and citizen awareness, use, analysis, and demand for data, in both quantity and quality, as these are relevant to public policy discourse, graft investigation and prosecution, delivery of basic services, and citizen engagement and participation for transparency, accountability, and good governance. — PCIJ, December 2015

By Titon Mitra*

AS WORLD LEADERS converge on Paris from 30 November to 11 December, the importance of arriving at an ambitious yet implementable agreement on climate change action has been graphically underlined by the fact that, based on UK Met Office data for 2015, for the first time, global mean temperature at the Earth’s surface will have reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels (data from January to September shows 2015 global mean temperature at 1.02 °C [±0.11°C] above pre-industrial levels).

We are already experiencing the adverse impacts of a warming climate: 14 of the hottest summers since 2000; rising sea levels; changing rainfall patterns; increased droughts; and more erratic and destructive storms. Only those who choose to willfully ignore the ample scientific evidence available – and the disturbing news coverage we see regularly – can deny that climate change induced by human actions is happening and its consequences are indeed very dangerous.

The Paris agreement will require compromise and importantly a recognition that the burden to take action will fall disproportionately between the developed and developing world. The key principle that has to be adopted with genuine commitment is that of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”. This means that each and every one of the 200 or so countries that will be present will have to commit to take actions, the scope and scale of which will differ according to their technical and financial capacities. The richer countries will need to take on a greater share of that burden and support the lesser developed.

Over 150 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – the actions they will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Philippines has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent from 2020 to 2030 but conditional on financial aid and associated technical support being provided by developed countries.

Based on today’s level of public and private investment and the stated climate mitigation actions, developing countries will need to bridge an annual funding shortfall of as much as $2.5 trillion from 2015-2030. Even if these funds were secured, the reality is that the current combined mitigation actions will account for only 86 percent of green house gas emissions and still result in a temperature rise of 2.7°C. A below 2°C target – the minimum we should be striving for – will require considerably more in terms of funding and commitment.

Climate change action indeed should not and need not be seen as a sunk cost but rather as an investment in the future and a catalyst for a new era of innovation. Current technologies available to us will not be sufficient. Governments will need to create the incentive structures through carbon pricing and greater subsidies to accelerate innovation and to create the break-through technologies. The private sector needs to see that these technologies will significantly add to their bottom line.

Everyone will also need to commit to low carbon lifestyles to set the market demand. This will require both a collective international and national vision of a below 2°C trajectory and a low carbon economy beneficial to people and the planet.

It should be understood that keeping global temperature rise to below 2°C of the average pre-industrial level may not be enough to avert dangerous consequences. But the 2°C gives us a target to focus upon, a rallying point to catalyse collective action. While we should continue to be hopeful for Paris, we should also prepare for the fact that we may not be able to move too far from the 86 percent of greenhouse gas emissions covered by the current INDCs.

If that is all we achieve, it is nevertheless a good first step. It is a foundation that can be built upon by putting in place transparent and robust mechanisms for measuring, monitoring and reporting progress. We should reconvene every 5 years and adjust INDCs. The consequences of continuing increases in temperature hopefully will create the realization among leaders and their political constituencies to take much more ambitious action.

UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has done what we can for now to accompany countries on the road to Paris. From formulating INDCs, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, National Adaptation Plans, climate finance readiness, policies and legislation for low carbon futures and other programmes, UNDP has helped over 130 developing countries access and deliver over $2.3 billion in mitigation and adaptation initiatives. UNDP has worked with vulnerable populations within countries, including women, girls, youth, indigenous people and remote communities to adapt and build their resilience to the inevitable consequences of climate change. Whatever the final outcomes of Paris, UNDP will continue to accompany countries as they work on their climate actions.

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon delivered a very clear message recently. He said: “Success in Paris depends on you. Now is the time for common sense, compromise and consensus. It is time to look beyond national horizons and to put the common interest first. The people of the world – and generations to come – count on you to have the vision and courage to seize this historic moment.”

For the sake of the world we will bequeath to our children, one hopes that Paris is listening.

* Titon Mitra is the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme in the Philippines.

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About UNDP
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org

TODAY starts a week-long job-application and registration process for those who aspire to lead the nation.

The applicants have only until Friday, Oct. 16, to file their certificates of candidacy with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In all, 18,069 positions will have to be filled up.

Decision day is seven months away on May 9, 2016.

By their votes, registered Filipino voters – last counted at 53,786,223 by the last balloting in October 2013 – will have to employ:

* A president
* A vice president
* 12 senators
* 58 party-list representatives
* 235 district representatives
* 81 governors
* 81 vice governors
* 772 provincial board councilors
* 144 city mayors
* 144 city vice mayors
* 1,610 city councilors
* 1,490 municipal mayors
* 1,490 municipal vice mayors
* 11,924 municipal councilors
* A governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
* A vice governor for ARMM
24 ARMM assemblymen.

It is fortuitous that the Comelec has helped ease the decision-making process for voters. In a landmark move, the poll body has decided to require all candidates to sign on to an “Integrity Pledge.”

A veritable terms of employment, the Pledge at the very least serves voters a reference for the expected, dutiful, and lawful conduct that all candidates must swear to and live by.

Will they keep true to the Pledge? The voters will know best when hiring time comes.

The full text of the Integrity Pledge follows:

INTEGRITY PLEDGE

I sign this Integrity Pledge for free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections, and through my words and actions, commit to abide by the tenets of our Constitution, election laws, rules and regulations, respecting the sanctity of our electoral exercise.

I will not employ any form of violence, force, or threat that may impair, impede, or unduly influence the free exercise of the people’s right of suffrage. I will ensure the prompt and accurate, reporting and disclosure of campaign-related expenses.

I will not offer or give bribes or gifts to corrupt the integrity of our democratic process.

As a candidate seeking the people’s mandate in order to serve them, I shall respect the norms of conduct expected of public servants and commit to run a clean campaign, observing fairness, common decency, honesty and good faith.

All these, I commit and subscribe to, freely and voluntarily, fully accountable to Almighty God and to the Filipino people as my witnesses.

HEIDI MENDOZA of the Philippines’s Commission on Audit has been nominated to a senior position in the United Nations.

In a press advisory released from New York Oct. 5, the UN said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “following consultations with Chairs of Regional Groups, informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Heidi Mendoza of the Philippines as the new Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services for a five-year non-renewable term.”

Appointed to the COA in 2011 by President Benigno S. Aquino III, Mendoza is chairperson of the Audit Committee on Public Sector Auditing Standards Board, and External Auditor for the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization and International Labour Organization.

A certified public accountant, Mendoza has over 20 years of service in government particularly in the field of audit, investigation, fraud examination, anti-corruption and integrity advocacy.