How Corrupt is The Philippines?

The other day, I included in a comment that the Philippines is not as corrupt as people make it out to be.  I got jumped by a couple of expats.  Not expats living in the Philippines but Filipino living in Western countries.  There appears to be significant corruption here.  The way many people talk though, its more common than uncommon.

There is a perception that white guys living in the Philippines are rich.  That probably brings out the more desperate people and many of them may concentrate on us.  Not much point in trying to scam another tarsierbroke person.  This concentration could make it seem that the corruption is worse than it is to the expats living in the Philippines.

Since I made that statement, I have caught myself avoiding situations or doing things in a way to better protect myself, so that I will reduce the likelihood of being ripped off.  I seem to be conducting myself expecting to be ripped off and taking precautions against that.

So far though, the only person that’s tried to rip me off was a kano that tried to sell me his used scooter for P50,000 after he had an accident on it.  That’s what they cost new.  Oh, sure, I’ve paid the Kano price way too many times.

So how much corruption have I seen in the last 16 months?  Almost none.  I know of someone that paid for a preferred place in line at the Bureau of Immigration.  I’ve paid custom fees that I don’t think were actually due.  I know of someone that had to pay extra fees to employees of a cable company to get them to move up the installation of DSL into a home.  I’ve seen public talk about the director of LTO could speed up the process and cut through the red tape of converting your drivers license to an international license.   I once saw a guy give a policeman P500 to avoid having his bike impounded.  I don’t recall who and I don’t know if it was true.  That’s it, at least at levels that might affect me.

What high ranking government officials do or what it looks like they may have done are not something most of us run into.  Most of the Filipina I’ve met face to face are great people.  Not a one of them has tried to rip me off.  If they did try, Jessie would likely be all over it.  She’s quite good and turning and walking off when a cabby tries some crap on her.  We send the yaya out to buy things as much as possible, she gets a better price than either of us can here in Bogo.  Everyone knows she’s with me.  :)  That’s not a scam, that’s just business. :She doesn’t like to haggle.  No big deal.  I don’t usually talk to them but when I do, I haggle now.

Sure there is graft there, plenty of it but I don’t find it any worse here than it is in the US.  And I’m far less likely to be robbed or killed for blowing my horn at the wrong person or looking at someone in the wrong way.

There is corruption here, no doubt but to paint the entire country in those terms is just not accurate and its eeems that many people do just that.  For the most part,  I’ve been treated very well by the people I’ve dealt with here.

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Filed under: Living In The Philippines

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