Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto was conferred by the US Department of State as one of the recipients of its International Anti-corruption Champions Award. The announcement for the award was made on the US State Department website on Tuesday, February 23.
The award, launched by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, aims to “recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption.”
The citation for Sotto describes him as 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 also notes Sotto’s history in politics. “In 2019, Sotto, then a 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 US State Department also noted that Soto pledged to avoid kickbacks in awarding city contracts, established a 24-hour public information and complaints hotline, and mandated “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.”
Sotto thanked the US State Department on Twitter, saying, "Thank you to the US Department of State for this recognition. But more than the recognition, I hope this helps raise awareness. If we want better long-term governance, we need to fight corruption. We have to denormalize it, get it out of our culture."
Eleven other individuals were named “anti-corruption champions”: Ardian Dvorani (Albania), Diana Salazar (Ecuador), Sophia Pretrick (Federated States of Micronesia), Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro (Guatemala), Ibrahima Kalil Gueye (Guinea), Anjali Bhardwaj (India), Dhuha A. Mohammed (Iraq), Bolot Temirov (Kyrgyz Republic), Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla (Libya), Francis Ben Kaifala (Sierra Leone), and Ruslan Ryaboshapka (Ukraine).
Thank you to the U.S. Department of State for this recognition.— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) February 24, 2021
But more than the recognition, I hope this helps raise awareness.
If we want better long-term governance, we need to fight corruption. We have to denormalize it, get it out of our culture. https://t.co/aeMUz3VFKd
Banner photo from Philstar.com