I was once one of those who belittled people in the Philippine government. I was furious whenever I hear of stories of corruption and patronage politics. But when I became part of the City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga, my perception changed.
Last September, I officially became a civil servant after accepting the offer of being part of the City Human Resource Management Office Training Unit (see related post: . During the first few months of my stay, the Performance Governance System or PGS is a buzzword in the city hall. Everyone is adopting the Balanced Scorecard – a very corporate thing that is unusual for a government agency to use.
When I assumed the post as Initiatives Manager for the city’s Office of Strategy Management, I became more exposed to the intricacies of the PGS. Everything came to me in a snap – helping out with a boot camp, attending an executive conference, and preparing for a global forum – all within a two-month period.
All the hardwork paid off on March 25 when the city was featured in the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) Public Governance Forum 2010 at Dusit Thani. Our city equally ranks with New Zealand Defence Force, Korea Customs Service and Boehringer Ingelheim when it comes to best practices.
There is still hope in this country and the power lies in the local government units. If San Fernando can do it, so can others. We may not do away with the political culture we have imbibed for several generations, but we can be agents in propagating change that can eliminate the negative notion we have with government agencies through political will.
For San Fernando, it takes an innovative idea from Harvard Business School plus the City Mayor’s ‘political will’ to do it right.