Philippines: October 16, 2004


The signs are not good. American officials are investigating Filipino generals who apparently stole U.S. money intended for anti-terrorist operations. That's nothing new. Filipinos have long complained about sticky fingered generals and politicians. But even the rebels, who are fighting against (among other things), corruption, are on the take. Many Moslem rebels in the south made peace with the government in the 1990s, and the senior rebels got government jobs and some degree of local autonomy. Many of these former rebels promptly behaved just like the corrupt officials they had been complaining about for so long. Corruption is a national disease, and just about every problem in the Philippines can be traced to it. While politicians constantly pledge to "deal with corruption," it persists. Until the corruption problem is is dealt with, the rebellions and economic malaise will continue. 


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