Monday, November 16, 2009

Panibagong Paraan for Good Governance

PHILIPPINES: Best Practices in Good Governance Shine in 3-day Conference

Good governance is a key factor in effective public service delivery, empowering poor and disadvantaged groups, hammering down the costs of goods and services that government buys, sustaining investments, and improving the quality of economic growth. These were the major learnings during a three-day conference led by the World Bank, the Asian Institute of Management – Center for Development Management, and the Ateneo School of Government at the AIM last November 4-6.
The conference, called Panibagong Paraan for Good Governance 2009 (New and Innovative Ways in Good Governance), puts a spotlight on how local government officials have successfully empowered their constituents, partnered with civil society organizations for better public service delivery and protection of disadvantaged groups, enhanced transparency and social accountability, and how all these were used to make growth work for the poor. This year’s Panibagong Paraan focused on sharing knowledge instead of project grant competitions as in previous years.
Among the speakers were Ramon Magsaysay awardee and Naga Mayor Jesse Robredo, World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman, former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cielito Habito, and AIM Associate Dean of Center for Development Management Juan Miguel Luz. Local government officials from places far from Manila like Mayor Florante Gerdan of Nueva Vizcaya, Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias, and Mayor Pedro Acharon of General Santos were some of the resource persons in the panel discussions.
In his talk, Mayor Robredo explained how good governance starts with the local chief executive, but is made potent with the participation of civil society, and each individual in every locality.
Leadership should demonstrate that if you want to have a culture of excellence, you should be excellent yourself. If you want a culture of honesty, you should be honest yourself,” said Mayor Robredo.
Naga City is one of the models for good governance in the country, earning awards for projects, one of which is iGovernance where the city hall used the Internet to enhance transparency. For example, all prices of goods bought by the local government in Naga city are posted in its website.
Other good governance models also shone during the conference, like Mayor Prudencio Maxino’s Kalahi program in Mulanay, Quezon, which empowers barangays to craft their own development agenda, and Mayor Florante Gerdan’s strategy to professionalize the local bureaucracy by focusing on performance. Local chief executives present during the conference said good governance worked for them because it ensured their continuity even without much campaign efforts.
The best campaign strategy is delivering public services well and empowering communities,” said Mayor Maxino.
The World Bank’s network of academic and research institutions called Knowledge for Development Centers (KDC), which participated in the event, believes that the rich experiences and variety of competencies of resource persons and speakers brought forward burning issues in good governance today.
We know that there are great governance achievements out there at the local level. We need to bring out these examples, learn from them, and support further reforms,” said Mr. Hofman.
During the conference, the World Bank also discussed selected development topics, under the broader theme of its Country Assistance Strategy, "Making Growth Work for the Poor." These topics will be included in a series of Discussion Notes which are intended to serve as vehicles for stirring and informing policy discussions and dialogue as the next Medium-Term Philippines Development Plan is developed.
What we need is to work on the quality of growth,” said Mr. Habito.
Good governance in both the national and local level is seen as an effective inoculation against poverty and poor investment climate, but more change leaders are needed to replicate these stories of good governance across the country.
Change leaders are always, without exception, those who are ethical and transparent. To them, good governance is not a statement without legs and feet. Leaders who are serious about good governance are the kinds of leaders that will bring about transformation in our country,” said AIM President Dr. Edilberto de Jesus.
In fighting poverty, it is not enough that we put the economy on a growth train or expand trade and industry. Governance is as much a part of the battle against poverty and inequality as roads and bridges,” Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La Viña said.
The KDC is a knowledge-sharing partnership between the World Bank and knowledge institutions in the country. Recently, it organized a series of both online and face-to-face forums for youth all over the country, bringing to them champions of good governance through a Caravan for Good Governance.
Acknowledgment: Harvey Keh
The St. Paul University Philippines-Knowledge for Development Center Information Staff, Mr. Ronaldo Sumait, and Public Administration & Legal Management Faculty, Mr. Mark Dominador Ventura attended this fruitful conference.
The Participants

Mr. Sumait discussed during the event the activities of SPUP-KDC which are focused on Good Governance, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability.

Mr. Ventura facilitated the sharing of action plans on
Panibagong Paraan for Good Governance

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