Strategic planning for local polls winners  

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The problem with some election winners is that after being proclaimed, they start planning for the next elections. They often forget that they have a province or a city to lead and manage, and a huge mountain of problems to solve. Most of the time, politicians are fixated on politics and forget that they are public servants.

The winners of the May 9 elections should not dwell too long on their euphoria and by now, should start planning, organizing, and preparing for the heavy burdens of governance for the next three years and beyond. The tragedy of many victors is to focus too much on their election victory and to neglect the tremendous demands of fulfilling their election promises. The people deserve better and more services. I am helping facilitate a focus group discussion and strategic planning session of one LGU whose identity I cannot disclose for the moment. And I admire the head of this local government for his vision, leadership, and managerial expertise.

What are the top challenges of all governors and mayors? First, how do they help their constituents address the rising poverty exacerbated by a devastated economy? Second, how do they prepare the province and the city for the next natural disasters and pandemic? Third, how do they improve the physical and environmental situations of their local province or city, address the perennial traffic, flooding, and garbage problems? And fourth, how do provincial governors and city mayors improve the quality of their employees' basic service delivery system to the constituents.

Governors and mayors should not close their eyes to the worsening poverty of their constituents and should formulate programs and projects to address the rising unemployment, high prices of goods, lack of food security, lack of decent, healthy, and humane housing and settlements, inaccessible and unaffordable public health facilities, high prices of clean water, electricity, and high cost of transportation. The leaders of all LGUs should prepare the whole province and city for the next natural calamity, be it a super typhoon, earthquake, or fire. Add to that the next pandemic, given our limited, inefficient, and unaffordable healthcare systems.

The local executives should look at the garbage, the filth, and the floods in their cities and towns. How can they attract tourists with too many street urchins, beggars, ill-clad children, male and female prostitutes roaming around the metropolis, vendors obstructing main thoroughfares, and selling their wares right in the middle of the roads and alleys? Governors and mayors should address the worsening problems in urban settlements, with many families and people sleeping on the sidewalks and urinating and defecating in all corners. There are no public toilets except in gas stations and restaurants. The governors and mayors should walk around at least once a month to see for themselves the palpable evidence of urban decay.

Lastly, city mayors and governors should instill discipline among Capitol and City Hall employees. Many of them are good, a few are even outstanding, but the majority are lazy, dishonest, inept, and lacking in basic courtesy to the public. They think that because they helped the governor and the mayor win in the last polls, they are untouchable. It is high time that local executives improve the quality of interactions between employees and the public, and service delivery systems by underlings and subalterns in the Capitol and City Hall. If I were the consultant of these executives I can provide a formula to create magical changes in less than a year's time. That is why I am helping this LGU which trusts my competence and commitment.


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