Philippines: June 30, 2004


President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo begins her second, and final, term as president by promising to reduce corruption. This won't be easy, as corruption is so widespread. It's particularly troublesome in the armed forces, where officers feel it is acceptable to take a bribe to let Islamic or communist rebels get away with something if the bribe is large enough. Sort of like winning the lottery. It's a strange psychology, but common in many countries cursed by pervasive corruption. But this bad habit also extends to regular military operations, where officers will take bribes to accept substandard supplies or equipment. In theory, because of the life or death aspect, it might be easier to curb corruption in the military. Only time will tell if an attempt will be made, and if it will work. 


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