What’s Surprising About PGMA Flunking MCC Challenge?

What’s new about the present administration flunking yet another scorecard of the Millennium Challenge Corporation?

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson posed this question as he said he would be more surprised if the Arroyo government got a passing grade from the MCC. 

“What do we expect from an administration that brazenly steals money, be it from the taxpayers or loan proceeds as in the World Bank fiasco, or even aid such as the fund for Millennium Development Challenge? I will be surprised if we got good marks instead of a failing grade,” he said.

He recalled that despite the World Bank’s blacklisting of some firms in public works projects, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allowed some of these blacklisted firms to continue bidding in government projects.

The Arroyo government flunked anew the MCC’s scorecard, getting scores below the median scores in a number of indicators, with the Department of Foreign Affairs blaming this to supposed “technicalities.”

In Fiscal Year 2009, the Philippines fell further below the Control of Corruption indicator, obtaining a score of 47 percent or 0.01 below the median. The Philippines further dropped to 26 percent or equivalent to 0.20 below the corruption median.

Also, the Philippines flunked in the areas of rule of law, immunization rates, girls’ primary education completion and business start-ups. It also retained its failing marks on health expenditures and primary education expenditures.

MCC is a US government corporation designed to work with developing countries on Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-funded programs for economic growth.

Meanwhile, Lacson questioned the right of the Arroyo government to assure visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that next year’s election will be transparent and free.

Clinton is due to visit the country on Thursday and Friday, en route to Singapore to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

“This administration has no moral ascendancy or even a basic right to convince the visiting US Secretary of State that elections in May will be transparent and fraud-free,” Lacson said.