Pasig City Mayor Victor "Vico" Sotto has been named among 12 International Anticorruption Champions who "defend transparency, combat corruption and ensure accountability," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced.
"Around the world, corruption threatens security and stability, hinders economic growth, undermines democracy and human rights, destroys trust in public institutions, facilitates transnational crime, and siphons away public and private resources," said Blinken in a statement.
"The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards," he added.
Blinken underscored that the award aims to recognize individuals who have "worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries."
The rest of the honorees are:
- Ardian Dvorani of Albania
- Diana Salazar of Ecuador
- Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia
- Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala
- Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea
- Anjali Bhardwaj of India
- Dhuha A. Mohammed of Iraq
- Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic
- Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya
- Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone
- Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine
Blinken underscored that US President Joe Biden emphasized the country's "commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad."
He further stated that the United States enforces a "robust anticorruption framework" in the world as they were the "first to criminalize foreign bribery and, in partnership with foreign counterparts, have recovered and returned more than $1 billion in stolen public assets in the past two years."
"We use a range of tools to promote accountability for corrupt individuals, combat impunity globally, and engage in multilateral fora to fight corruption and strengthen citizen engagement," he said.
"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," he added.
At the Philippine Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson lauded Sotto's inclusion in the list.
"The bright beacon of the land," Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account, referring to Sotto.
"At least we have good reason not to give up hoping for our beloved country. As one very successful businessman recently told me - for the longest time, our country is like a boat full of holes that doesn't sink only because we keep bailing the water out. Nobody has thought of bringing it to a dry dock for repairs," he said. — BAP/RSJ, GMA News