Good governance is our social responsibility — Palace

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Photo by Rene Dilan

Photo by Rene Dilan

THE government has more than a million employees and must be a model in corporate social responsibility. How is it doing this?

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Ensuring that each peso is well spent to ensure a healthy society, economy and environment is government’s social responsibility and such is more of a duty than a public relations stunt to earn brownie points, according to Malacañang.

In an interview with The Manila Times for its anniversary issue, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed that being the country’s top employer for having a workforce of more than a million Filipinos, the government has the principal responsibility to promote “everything that is beneficial to all.”

“By corporate social responsibility in private sector terms means giving back the favor to the general populace and the environment. Usually it involves public relations, a publicity of sorts. However, we in government do not see it that way. Corporate social responsibility is the duty to ensure a healthy and happy people. That is done by ensuring that each peso is spent wisely for programs aimed toward achieving that purpose. Good governance, therefore, is our (CSR),” explained the Palace official.

Coloma said the social responsibility of the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd is embodied in its commitment to fulfill its mandate to its bosses – the Filipino public that it serves.

“Consistent with its social contract with the Filipino people, the Aquino administration implements poverty reduction programs as it upholds the principles of good governance and transparency under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP),” he said.

The PDP 2011-2016, according to the National Economic Development Authority, adopts a framework of inclusive growth, which is high growth that is sustained, generates mass employment, and reduces poverty.

With good governance and anticorruption as the overarching theme of each and every intervention, the Plan translates into specific goals, objectives, strategies, programs and projects—all the things that the government wants to accomplish in the medium term.

Through the PDP, the Aquino administration will pursue rapid and sustainable economic growth and development, improve the quality of life of the Filipino, empower the poor and marginalized and enhance our social cohesion as a nation.

“Our strategic development policy framework thus focuses on improving transparency and accountability in governance, strengthening the macroeconomy, boosting the competitiveness of our industries, facilitating infrastructure development, strengthening the financial sector and capital mobilization, improving access to quality social services, enhancing peace and security for development, and ensuring ecological integrity,” NEDA said.

For Coloma, the PDP enables them “to work systematically to give the Filipino people a better chance of finally finding their way out of poverty, inequality, and the poor state of human development.”

“It is worthy to note that under this administration, the human development sector has been getting the largest chunk of the national budget, aptly called the people’s budget. In fact, half of the 2016 national budget as endorsed by President Aquino goes to social protection, health, education, and economic services,” he stressed.

Through its good governance practices, Coloma also explained that the Aquino administration has also promoted public trust and confidence in a government that is “more open, more accountable, and more attuned to the delivery of needs of the public.”

“Thus, the Aquino administration is fulfilling its social responsibility to uplift the quality of life of the Filipino people through concrete and tangible programs that address the objective of attaining inclusive growth,” he pointed out.

Among the flagship projects of the government for the poor is the much-touted Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which is a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The CCT aims to eradicate extreme poverty in the Philippines by investing in health and education particularly in ages 0–14. It is patterned on programs in other developing countries like Brazil (Bolsa Familia) and Mexico (Oportunidades)

Presently, the program operates in 17 regions, 79 provinces and 1,484 municipalities and 143 key cities covering more than four million Filipino families as of last count.

Under this program, government provides cash assistance to address the short-term financial need of the poor with certain conditions such as:

– Pregnant household member/s should visit their local health center to avail of pre- and post-natal care starting from the first trimester of pregnancy.

– Children 0-5 years old – members of the household who are 0–5 years old shall visit the health center and avail of immunization/vaccination, weight monitoring, and management of childhood disease.

– Children aged 6 to 14 should receive deworming pills twice a year

Education conditionalities.

– Children aged 3 to 5 should be enrolled in Day Care Program or pre-school program and maintain a class attendance rate of at least 85 percent per month (still subject to evaluation/study)

– Children aged 6 to 14 should be enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and maintain a class attendance rate of at least 85 percent per month.

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