PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER ASSUME that corruption is an inevitable and acceptable part of life.

This is the message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as the UN, civil society groups, and various governments prepare to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday, December 9.

The United Nations has declared December 9 as the world day against corruption to highlight efforts to stamp out corruption worldwide, and both harness and focus the energies of government, multilateral organizations, and civil society groups against corruption.

The theme of the global campaign is “Zero Corruption, 100% Development.” The theme seeks to draw attention to how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs.

In the Philippines, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has been chosen to organize the event to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The activity will be a Monday forum on Pork and Other Perks: The Citizens’ To-Do Tasks for 2014 and Beyond. The forum seeks to draw ideas from government, civil society, journalists and citizen journalists on how we can address the abuse of pork barrel and pork-like funds in the national budget.

In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon emphasized that corruption should never be seen as the normal state of things; rather, corruption is the result of greed and abuse.

“Corruption is not inevitable,” Ban said. “It flows from greed and the triumph of the undemocratic few over the expectations of the many.”

“On International Anti-Corruption Day, I call on everyone to work towards a sustainable future where corruption is exposed and rejected, where integrity prevails, and where the hopes and dreams of millions are realized,”Ban said.

Ban added that the price of corruption is not really measured in currency, but rather in the absence of basic services for the poor and the needy.

“The cost of corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars of squandered or stolen government resources, but most poignantly in the absence of the hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that might have been built with that money and would have certainly changed the fortunes of families and communities,” Ban added. “Corruption destroys opportunities and creates rampant inequalities. It undermines human rights and good governance, stifles economic growth and distorts markets.”

Read the full message of the UN Secretary-General on the occasion of World Anti-Corruption Day here.


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