Unity in Integrity in Manila
The Anti-corruption training for SME associations, "Unity in Integrity," was successfully conducted at the Far East Bancom Room, Asian Institute of Management, on March 31, 2016. This event is the continuation among the series of discussions with a) new participants comprised of representatives of SME associations, and b) previous participants from the Roundtable Discussion held last year. There were a total of 17 participants composed of representatives from SME business associations in Manila as well as individual SMEs. The training was in accordance with the third phase of the project entitled "Promoting Integrity and Accountability in Business: Combating Corruption in the Private Sector," which is funded by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C.
Participants represented businesses associations such as the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Rotary Club of Cavite-Aguinaldo. Other participants represented SMEs from various industries, such as shipping, manufacturing, and clothing. A representative from the Department of Trade and Industry- Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Division was also present.
The following relevant points were shared by the participants. For SMEs to send a clear message that they do not engage in bribery, they must know the government requirements and processes whether in applying for a business permit, building permit, etc. SMEs should also properly record/document their transactions with the government. Since gifts are not immediately considered as bribes, it is important that SMEs also craft their own policy on gifts, inlcuding penalties. This policy must clearly define and differentiate what gifts are acceptable and can be considered as bribes. Participants also suggested pro-integrity measures such as: 1) Encourage sharing of best practices on good governance; 2) Motivate good practices by organizing events to recognize/award SMEs with best practices; 3) Promote activities that encourage networking/conference among members-SMEs; 4) implementation of a Vendor Integrity Programs; and 5) Implementation of more programs from DTI, such as the SME Roving Academy, Negosyo Centers, and Shared Service Facilities (SSF).
The Center would like to thank all the participants who graced the training.