Good governance
SINGKIT - Doreen G. Yu (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2013 - 12:00am

I asked a few people what their idea of good governance is. Not accepting bribes. Not demanding kickbacks or commissions. Using government money wisely. Not giving lucrative government contracts to relatives or friends, or relatives or friends of powerful people. Good governance is all that, and a lot more. Ever since the President made “daang matuwid” and anti-corruption the cornerstone of his administration, good governance has taken centerstage, and has thankfully gone beyond lip service. From local governments to executive departments, from the military and police to government corporations, officials have embraced the concept of good governance and worked to integrate it into the operations of their agencies, into the very core of their vision and policy.     

Twenty institutions took part in the Public Governance Forum last Tuesday, for the bi-annual evaluation of their progress along the road of good governance. The 20 agencies are about half of the number of agencies partnering with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia to implement the Performance Governance System (PGS), a “performance management framework that builds on the potentials of government organizations, allowing them to implement strategic projects to achieve and sustain their goals” – the key words here being “strategic” and “sustain.”

I sat on the panels of three agencies up for review – the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA). Not being familiar with the workings of the GCG, I was most impressed at what they have achieved so far – a long way from the infamous huge bonuses and eye-popping perks of the past – and the specific goals and timetables they have set. I was also surprised at the number of GOCCs – initially 157, now down to 130 and to be further trimmed to an even 100.

The PNP I am quite familiar with, having worked with them for the past several years on different projects. Through four chiefs of police, their development framework PATROL PLAN 2030 has remained, a most encouraging sign of the sustainability of their program for reform and transformation. The PNP is working towards the final stage of the PGS, a goal that the current chief, without hesitation, committed to achieving by next year.

The PA has set up the Army Transformation Roadmap, which embodies its commitment to pursue genuine reforms. From headquarters, the ATR has to be brought down or cascaded to its different units, to the soldiers in the field. To verify this, I texted two of my foster kids, graduates of the Philippine Military Academy now assigned to Basilan and Bulacan. Sure enough, both of them knew about the ATR, one of them saying their commander had undergone a seminar on it and had in turn relayed it to them; the other explaining that it is a roadmap for good governance and excellence. I conveyed their answers to the Army chief, proof that their efforts at reform and good governance are taking root.

Aware of this, Jesus said to the disciples, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”  Matthew 26:10-13

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