THE GOVERNMENT is exploring further cooperation with Hong Kong in its fight against corruption, following Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr.’s recent meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

“The meeting revealed a surprising number of very important initiatives HK and PH can engage in to our huge mutual advantage,” Mr. Locsin said in a social media post on Monday.

“I expressed intense interest in the anti-corruption role of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) — a vital issue in PH (Philippines) government.”

Officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs in February last year met with ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu, who offered training and consultancy services to the Philippines’ anti-corruption body, the Office of the Ombudsman. Antonio A. Morales, Philippine consul general in Hong Kong, in December 2018 arranged for a visit by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission officers for consultation with the ICAC.

That was not the first time the Philippines sought ICAC expertise on this matter. In 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman tapped the services of Tony Kwok, retired ICAC Operations head, and Paul Dickenson, retired ICAC senior investigator, to train the Ombudsman’s field investigators.

Transparency International, in its Corruption Perception Index for 2018, reported in January that Hong Kong ranked 14th out of 180 countries and territories where business executives were asked on their general perceptions as well as specific brushes with corruption in their dealings with governments. Hong Kong ranked 13th out of 180 economies in the 2017 survey.

The Philippines, meanwhile, improved in rank to 99th in the 2018 index from 111th in 2017. In Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines placed 18th among 31 countries and territories compared to being 21st in 2017. — Charmaine A. Tadalan