MANILA — One of twelve “anti-corruption champions” named is Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. With eleven other recipients of the inaugural International Anti-corruption Champions Award launched by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and introduced by the administration of US President Joe Biden, the award recognizes “individuals who work to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.”
“Victor Sotto, Mayor of Pasig, The Philippines, is a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office,” the US Department of State said Wednesday (Manila time).
Sotto was 26 years old when he got a seat in the city council of Pasig in 2016. At 29, he took the city’s executive seat in 2019 in a landslide vote. The US State Department highlighted Sotto’s work as a city councilor, which resulted in a freedom of information legislation. The legislation allowed Pasig residents to request documents without providing justification. It was the first of Sotto’s victories.
“Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance,” the US agency also said.
“He pledged to avoid any kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, established a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, formally involved civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policymaking, and mandated that the value of all city government contracts be reduced by at least 10 percent—a measure intended to reduce bribery in the contract awarding process,” it added.
The other honorees recognized by the US are:
- Ardian Dvorani, Albania
- Diana Salazar, Ecuador
- Sophia Pretrick, The Federated States of Micronesia
- Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro, Guatemala
- Ibrahima Kalil Gueye, Guinea
- Anjali Bhardwaj, India
- Dhuha A. Mohammed, Iraq
- Bolot Temirov, The Kyrgyz Republic
- Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla, Libya
- Francis Ben Kaifala, Sierra Leone
- Ruslan Ryaboshapka, Ukraine
“These 12 awardees inspire Washington and their counterparts in pursuing their commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability,” said Blinken.
“We will defeat corruption by implementing sound reforms consistent with international anticorruption commitments; developing transparent, accountable institutions; and empowering citizens, journalists, and civil society organizations to help defeat this global threat to security and democracy,” Blinken said. (BG/Headline PH)