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RP is founding member of world’s 1st anti-corruption academy

Despite its poor performance in corruption polls, the Philippines became one of the founders of the world’s first educational institution dedicated to fighting corruption. In a release posted on its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine Ambassador to Austria and to the International Organizations in Vienna, Lourdes Yparraguirre, signed the agreement to establish the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) on September 2. Based in Laxenburg in Vienna, the International Anti-Corruption Academy is the world's first educational institution that will have programs aimed at eradicating corruption. According to the DFA, the academy will train policymakers in governments, the private sector and civil society, as well as professionals such as judges, investigators, prosecutors, police officers, regulators and members of the academe from all over the world. The academy will offer tailor-made programs, including courses for practitioners from developing countries. “Students will be able to pursue academic degrees while exchanging ideas and networking on campus," the release stated. The academy was launched in Vienna the following day. Apart from launching of the academy, at least 30 ministers and about 1,000 participants from 90 countries participated in a two-day conference with the theme "From vision to reality: A new and holistic approach to fighting corruption" on September 2-3. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the conference and also inaugurated the IACA, the DFA said. Ban said the launch of the academy is a milestone in the efforts of the international community to fight corruption. Yparraguirre's statement during the High-Level Segment meanwhile reiterated the Philippines' strong commitment to the global fight against corruption. "For our newly elected President, Benigno Aquino III, ending corruption and reducing poverty are the most urgent priorities of his administration. With an active civil society, we are fighting corruption as an indispensable part of our quest to achieve meaningful growth and progress," she said. Yparraguirre likewise highlighted several anti-corruption initiatives undertaken by the government and non-government organizations, including the eradication of the culture of corruption through individual character development, and strengthening of institutions to nurture good governance practices within government. Despite its efforts, the Philippines continues to score poorly in various corruption indices. The Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. ranked the Philippines as Asia Pacific’s fourth most corrupt economy in 2010, two notches higher than its position in 2009 at sixth. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index meanwhile identified the country as the 39th most corrupt country among 180 countries in the world, as perceived by expert sources.—Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV