PASIG City Mayor Victor “Vico” Sotto is one of the 12 individuals recognized by the United States Department of State as an international anti-corruption champion.
The Biden administration launched the International Anticorruption Champions Award to recognize individuals who have worked to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday, February 23.
“Around the world, corruption 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,” said Blinken.
“The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards,” he added.
According to the U.S. Department of State, Sotto is “a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anticorruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office.”
The agency noted that Sotto was just 29 years old when he broke the 27-year rule of a political dynasty in Pasig City in 2019, adding that his prior work as city councilor resulted in a freedom of information legislation.
“Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance,” the U.S. State Department said.
“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.
The other recipients of the International Anticorruption Champions Award 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.
“The State Department continues to stand by citizens around the world calling for transparent, accountable governments. We proudly recognize these international champions of anticorruption and all those who have taken a stand against corruption,” the department said.