Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto was named one of the 12 International Anti-Corruption Champions of the United States' Department of State.
In a statement released Tuesday, February 23, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said being named an International Anti-Corruption Champion has the goal of recognizing individuals "who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries."
The department described Sotto as a standard-bearer when it comes to a new generation of Filipino politicians who puts anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their priorities when it comes to their election campaigns and running their office.
“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.
“Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance,” it went on.
Furthermore, the US Department of State recognized Sotto as they noted that he has pledged to avoid kickbacks in the awarding of city contracts, established a 24-hour public information and complaints hotline, and formally involved civil society organizations in the budgeting and policy making of Pasig.
They also mentioned the 31-year-old mayor's mandate of reducing the value of city government contracts by 10 percent, which he intended to reduce bribery in contract awarding.
Apart from Sotto, the eleven other individuals recognized as international anti-corruption champions 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.