No miracle this time

There is a significant lack of maturity among voters in Pampanga. Disappointment enveloped my excitement as a first-time voter during the country’s first automated elections because provincial and district posts here in our area is dominated by dark forces. Indeed, Kapampangans are far from learning what ‘good governance’ is all about, and what real ‘public service’ looks like. In fact, many cannot distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Yet again, there is hope.

COMELEC deserves a round of applause for pushing through with its plan of “PCOSizing” the whole nation. Depsite of some inefficiencies, failure to remove Acosta and putting an action star on the no. 8 spot in the senatoriables (obviously unfair), I guess Filipinos are already satisfied with Commissioner Larrazabal’s good looks plus a bit of those “may bilog na hugis itlog” dancers on television.

As a government employee, I wasn’t able to directly help in campaigning for my bet. Although I show my support as part of the yellow army, I remained silent. But my entry to government service is very timely. Being inside the political system allows you to be acquainted further with those running for office.

Eleksyon vs Halalan
By 8:00 am of May 10, the tip of my pointer finger was already marked with indelible ink and I already voted for the future leaders of this country. Upon reaching home, I tuned in for updates. I can’t help but express my awe with this year’s coverage of local television networks. The Iron Man-like 3D graphics plus GMA 7’s hologram made the day even more historic. I love the Collezione polo shirts of ABS-CBN reporters. I find GMA’s blazers a bit off-season.

Pampanga and the next three years
And so Arroyo is now congresswoman, and new leaders are handling the coffers of a rich province. No one knows what would happen in the next three years. Being part of the huge team that runs the capital of Pampanga, I am hopeful that something good will come (since the anti-corruption czar won as president) and, as my best friend always says – Everything will be OK.

Not stereotypical

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.

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