Corruption amid a pandemic
Corruption in the Philippines is not something novel as the coronavirus that is plaguing the country and the world at large. It is rather an endemic, deep-seated, and deep-rooted virus that has afflicted the country since time immemorial. It is a social menace and a mammoth stumbling block to good governance that had penetrated not just the government but even the private and non-government sectors as well as Philippine society even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
In as far as the corruption index is concerned, the country is ranked the 113rd least corrupt nation out of 180 countries according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. That’s 14 notches below the 2018 ranking.
To note, “corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organisation entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse of power for one’s private interests and gains.”
Corruption in the Philippines is prevalent on different scales. It can be found at all levels of the state apparatus. It ranges from “petty bribery” to corruption that affects the government on a large scale, or what you call “grand corruption”, and the kind of corruption that is so prevalent that it becomes a part of the everyday structure of society like organised crime, or what you call “systemic corruption.”
Thus, the alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is an exemplification of “systemic corruption” in present-day Philippines.