By Bernadette D. Nicolas, April 22 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to ABS-CBN News

THE Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU)with its Chinese counterpart, the National Commission for Supervision, this week.

This will happen on the sidelines of China’s second Belt and Road Initiative Forum from April 24 to 27, to be attended by leaders from 60 countries, including President Duterte.

PACC Chairman Dante LA.Jime-nez and PACC Executive Director Eduardo V. Bringas will be joining the President to Beijing.  This is the second year that the President will be attending the forum.

Malacañang earlier said that matters of mutual concern, including trade and investments and security, will be discussed during the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Philippine exports to China grew by 8.5 percent to $8.7 billion in 2018, from $8.02 billion in 2017, making China the Philippines’s fourth-largest export market.

On top of trade, China is also the country’s top source of foreign investments with around $962.61 million in approved investments in 2018, according to the Board of Investments.

President Duterte has been criticized for seeking warmer relations with Beijing even though it pointedly ignores the favorable ruling Manila obtained from the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, where the Philippines denounced China’s “excessive claims” in the South China Sea.

In a related development, PACC said over the weekend that it backs the appeal made by President Duterte for the New People’s Army (NPA) to go after corrupt government officials, not government troops.

“We agree with the President’s position that the public, whose interests and welfare the NPA claims it protects, should wage war against corruption in all levels of government. In fact, the NPA should put itself at the forefront of this campaign if it is really fighting for the people’s cause,” Jimenez said.

The President made the remark during a campaign rally in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, on April 16.

Moreover, PACC also urged the voting public to be discerning in choosing local politicians in the elections next month.
In keeping with the President’s corruption-free standard for government officials, PACC is campaigning against officials with pending cases.

“The war against corrupt officials must extend as far as voting them for public office.

Do not vote for politicians or candidates with pending cases with the Ombudsman or at the Sandiganbayan,”Jimenez said.

The PACC is going around the various regions in the country to promote the President’s anti-corruption drive in the countryside.

“Corruption breeds poverty, crime, illegal drugs and worst, of all, rebellion,” Jimenez added.

The PACC was created to help the President get rid of corruption in the Executive Branch, including government-owned and -controlled agencies.