Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who was previously named as a global “anti-corruption champion” by the US State Department, got a special mention in the United States’ updated Indo-Pacific thrust.
In a speech outlining America’s approach in the region, State Secretary Antony Blinken named Sotto as one of the US partners in promoting anti-corruption and transparency efforts.
“We’re finding partners in government, too, like Victor Sotto. He’s the mayor of the city of Pasig in the Philippines,” Blinken said in Jakarta on December 14.
“Victor set up a 24/7 hotline for constituents to report cases of corruption. It has made the awarding in public contracts more transparent, has given community-based organizations a say in the way the city spends its resources,” he added.
Last February 2021, Sotto received the State Department’s anti-corruption champions award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption.
Blinken said advancing an open and free Indo-Pacific not only involves defending the rules-based order in the region but also promoting “free places” that are open to criticism, to self-reflection, as well as to renewal.
“When we say that we want a free and open Indo-Pacific, we mean that on an individual level, that people will be free in their daily lives and live in open societies. We mean that on a state level, that individual countries will be able to choose their own path and their own partners,” he said.
“And we mean that on a regional level, that in this part of the world problems will be dealt with openly, rules will be reached transparently and applied fairly, goods and ideas and people will flow freely across land, cyberspace, and the open seas,” he added. (PNA)