80 percent investigations and legislations, 20% implementation

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

The Pareto principle in leadership and management states that only 20 percent of what you are doing are producing 80 percent of your desired results. That means that you are doing too many useless things. You are wasting time on many tasks that do not yield what you intend to benefit your people or customers.

Using that principle, we can say that the problem with the Philippine government is that there are too many senators and congressmen who want to become investigators, judges, and justices. Too much time, resources and efforts are spent in investigations in aid of the next elections. And the unkindest cut of all is that the ones mandated to execute the laws and implement the regulations are mired in too many meetings, seminars, conferences and legislative investigations. too much public funds are used to pay for useless and inconsequential and often repetitive and duplicating investigations. These futile exercises do not solve poverty, hunger and social and economic injustices.

What the country needs are immediate, precise and flawless execution of laws, unconditional and urgent implementation of programs and projects, unfailing adherence to timetables and deadlines, uncompromising compliance with budget limitations and faithful obedience to regulations and protocols. Cabinet members should assume common responsibility over all their units and personnel. Department secretaries should streamline the allocation of functions to all undersecretaries and assistant secretaries. Regional directors and bureau directors should be monitored in the execution of plans and programs. And if executives fail to deliver, they should be decent enough to vacate their positions without waiting to be fired.

Those in executive offices should not spend too much time playing up to the mass media in order to project a nice image. They should limit press conferences and go slow on many "praise" releases. They are not politicians, they are technocrats. They have their own spokespersons, let them do their jobs. Cabinet members should give precise work targets to all frontline officials and personnel. They should be closely monitored and evaluated. The problem with many executives in government is that they do not know how to plan, organize, control and lead their people. They should go back to school and learn the ropes. Many of them are political appointees who are just good at posturing and politicking.

Congress should limit investigations and focus on remedial legislation. After all their public hearings and investigations, it seems to me that no one is following up investigation results and formulating corrective legislation. There are congressmen whose bills are limited to allocating money for parochial projects in constructing waiting sheds and multi-purpose buildings which do not contribute to economic progress and social development. Many of them just introduce bills to change the names of streets, buildings or barangays in honor of their ancestors and forefathers. If we audit the performance of Congress according to generally-accepted principles of management, I doubt if they can pass the scrutiny on cost-benefit analysis alone.

In every investigation, the committee secretaries have the habit of inviting hundreds of officials and they do not even have enough time to talk and be asked to shed light on issues. Many of those who come are merely last-minute replacements who are not even prepared. They all spend official hours away from their usual tasks, neglecting the people who transact official business in their offices. And they have to be fed because the committee members come in late and the investigations are extended over lunch. These are all at the expense of the taxpayers. Then even as the Senate already investigates the same issue, the same people, and the same agency, the House would not be outshone, they need to duplicate the process also using public funds.

If this is the way we run this government, then we shall really be overtaken by Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. We are already being left behind by Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. We shall revert to our old status as the sick old man in Asia. We never learn from our mistakes.  We keep on doing the wrong things and electing the wrong leaders. We should stop asking why we never move up nor move forward. We have this nasty habit of hurting ourselves.

It appears to me that we do not need China to invade us. We seem to be capable of destroying ourselves.

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