Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has been named one of 12 International Anti-corruption Champions by the United States Department of State.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage and impact in preventing, exposing and combating corruption.
Mayor Vico was one of 12 individuals who have “worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.”
Sotto was even described by the department as a “standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office.”
The statement also added that the neophyte mayor “has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance.”
“In 2019, Sotto, then a 29-year-old city councilor, defeated an incumbent mayor whose family had ruled the city for 27 years. Sotto’s prior work on the city council resulted in freedom of information legislation that allowed city residents to request documents without having to provide a justification – the first such law in the Metro Manila area,” the statement said.
It also took note how Mayor Vico pledged to avoid kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, established a 24/7 public information and complaints hotline, and formally involved civil society organizations in the city’s budgeting and policymaking.
Joining Sotto in the list are 11 other individuals who were awarded by the US Department. They 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. SOVEREIGNPH