• ‘Empowered voices of governance’ in government



    EMPOWERED public sector institutions are the key to faster, more sustainable progress. This is the message of the upcoming Dream Philippines Fair organized by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA). Now on its second run, the event will feature organizations from a new set of sectors: local government, infrastructure and transportation, peace and security, education, and health. These towns, municipalities, and agencies, considered to be “empowered voices of governance,” will not only present progressive strategies but also successes and challenges in tackling governance issues as institutions.

    The City of Legazpi in Albay is working on creating a thriving environment for conventioneers and tourists as it envisions itself as a Top 5 “convention destination” in Luzon by 2020. Aside from building convention facilities and nurturing tourism-related establishments, the city, also known as the “city of fun and adventure,” can already cite achievements such as setting up a night food street called the “Daragsan” under its belt.

    The town of Orani in Bataan is pursuing a Top 5 spot as well, this time in Central Luzon’s ecotourism circuit. Orani is famous for the Sinagtala farm resort and adventure park, and the Bataan National Park, which is within the province’s forest reserve. It is beefing up its efforts at developing local ecotourism sites with better infrastructure and a new marketing strategy, which has been refocused on tourism.

    The town of Pilarin, Bataan,home to the Dambanang Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) is playing to its strengths by aiming to become the historical-cultural tourism center of Luzon by 2020. It has made progress in its “Balik Tanaw” initiative that promotes multi-sectoral collaboration in developing local educational tours, histo-quizzes, historical presentations, and a localized social studies curriculum.

    Rounding up the local government unit presenters is the town of Samal in Bataan, whose vision can be considered a response to the Samal Bloody Mutiny, in which the locals fought against land grabbing and human rights violations at the time of the government’s tobacco monopolization. This time, Samal’s priority is to cultivate inclusive business models that will make it the hub for agro-industrial enterprises in the Philippines by 2020.

    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a major player in the infrastructure and transportation sector, envisions being an effective and efficient government agency, ultimately improving Filipino lives through quality infrastructure. Now in the advanced stages of its governance program, the DPWH has focused on constructing new roads and bridges to enhance the national road system, improving road quality and safety, and protecting lives and properties through flood control. At the same time, it has been successful in communicating and sharing desired strategic shifts with everybody in the organization, resulting in the DPWH becoming the first Philippine government institution to achieve 100 percent ISO 9001: 2015- certification of its 220 offices nationwide.

    The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), which is under the Department of National Defense, is currently promoting its “Kagitingan Roadmap 2020”, which aims to transform the organization into a strong and unified Filipino Veterans community service and a reliable partner in nation-building. PVAO is at the forefront of delivering veterans’ benefits and services, improving their general welfare, and perpetuating the memory of their heroic deeds. One of its standout initiatives is the Digitization Project, covering historical records from World War 2, and executed by an all-female team.

    The University of San Agustin (USA)is the first university in Western Visayas and the first and only Augustinian university in the Asia-Pacific region. It envisions itself as a community of scholars and life-long learners devoted to the Truth, and promotes authentic human and societal development. In the last bar exams, the university produced a Top 4 bar-passer, representative of its dedication to honing members of the academic community in the service of community, country, and the world.

    The Navotas City Hospital, operational since 2015, is the first and only government hospital in the community. It envisions itself as the preferred hospital of every Navoteño, rendering quality and holistic care. Navotas City Hospital is focused on creating a thriving professional workforce that practices excellent general healthcare and offers a financially equitable system.

    The Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center is the only medical center in Northern Luzon that caters to the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Northern Cagayan, and Kalinga Apayao. Its vision is to be the center for excellence in patient care, training, and research in Ilocandia, and it aims to build and nurture a healthy constituency in the locality. Soon, Mariano Marcos will be operational as a satellite center assisting the Philippine Heart Center, with plans to support other specialty government hospitals as well in the next five years.

    The forum is an opportunity for these institutions to deliver updates on the progress of their various strategies, which are their contributions toward building everybody’s “Dream Philippines”. The event, which will be held on November 22, 2017 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig is co-presented by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), which assists in the screening of presenters and selection of panelists; and sponsored by Unilab.

    Marielle Antonio is a program officer at the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), a non-profit group focused on empowering public sector institutions through governance. Contact the author through mantonio@isacenter.org and learn more about the upcoming event through isacenter.org/programs/dreamph2017.


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