PH fails on rule of law, curbing corruption in U.S. group scorecard for aid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 4) — The country failed in meeting a United States aid group's standards on rule of law and curbing corruption, which will be used as basis for giving grants to the Philippines.

The Philippines got scores of 0 for control of corruption, -0.01 for rule of law in the scorecard of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The rule of law indicator measures the prevalence of crime and violence, public confidence in the police and judiciary, and the police force's capability to protect the people, among others.

It was the first time in four years that the country failed to meet the rule of law and control of corruption standards required for its income group, data from the MCC show.

In a statement on Friday, Malacañang said it hopes the MCC will take into account President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to eradicate corruption.

"The President has fired government officials from their posts, including those who were perceived to be close to him, due to reports of corruption," incoming Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said as he enumerated Duterte's accomplishments.

He also said the MCC used old methodologies and the findings "may not completely reflect the reform initiatives of the Duterte administration in the area of fighting corruption and good governance."

The MCC selects countries eligible for aid based primarily on their scorecards, as it requires aid recipients to commit to good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens.

This year, out of 20 indicators, the Philippines failed in eight, including health expenditures, primary education expenditures, and ease of doing business.

It got passing rates for a sound monetary policy, allowing freedom of information, and protecting natural resources, among others.

The MCC was created by the U.S. Congress in 2004 and has since provided more than $10 billion worth of aid for developing countries, including the Philippines.

In 2010, the Philippines received $434 million worth of investments from the MCC, which funded the modernization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the upgrade of a major highway in Samar, as well as community development projects in some of the poorest areas in the country.

The grant expired in May 2016.

In December 2016, the MCC deferred a vote on giving aid to the Philippines, citing concerns over reports of human rights violations in the government's bloody war on drugs.

Read more: U.S. aid group defers PH grant over human rights concerns

But then Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced in August that the MCC has decided to extend assistance to the country.

"While we are happy with this new development, our economic managers would study the conditions set by the MCC if these are aligned with the President's priority agenda," Abella said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear he does not want any aid with conditions, as he repeatedly lashed out at the European Union for alleged criticisms on the drug war.

CNN Philippines' Claire Jiao contributed to this report.