Biden honors Pasig Mayor Sotto as anti-corruption champion
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto is among the 12 individuals honored by US President Joe Biden as anti-corruption champions.
According to the State Department, Sotto is a “standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office”.
It said the 29-year-old city councilor defeated an incumbent mayor whose family had ruled the city for 27 years.
“Sotto’s prior work on the city council resulted in freedom of information legislation that allowed city residents to request documents without having to provide a justification ? the first such law in the Metro Manila area,” the State Department said.
“Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance. He pledged to avoid any kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, established a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, formally involved civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policy making, and mandated that the value of all city government contracts be reduced by at least 10 percent ? a measure intended to reduce bribery in the contract awarding process,” it added.
In a statement, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said the Biden administration recognized that working with courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts is the way to combat the issue which 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.
Blinken said the anti-corruption champions have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.
“As President Biden has emphasized, our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad,” he said.
“I commend the dedication of these 12 brave individuals to these same ideals,” he added
Other 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, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine. Ella Dionisio/DMS