• Govt organizations urged to be ‘competitive but complimentary’

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    MARIELLE ANTONIO

    AT the public governance forum held June 21, 2017 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City, Guillermo Luz, private sector co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), urged the 300-member audience of national and local public officials to be mindful of being both competitive and complimentary.

    “Your competition is your neighboring town, city, province, even a whole other country,” Luz said. “It is by no accident that the national agencies and local governments we see in these public governance forums each year are the ones considered to be top performers in the country, and also no accident that we as a country have moved up in our competitiveness indicators.”

    The forum, which is co-convened twice a year by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), showcases transformation stories at both the national and local levels of the government. Business and civil society leaders, as well as members of media and the academe, and former members of government, participate as part of multi-sector panels that advise presenting leaders on their transformation strategies.

    All of these insights are guided by the Performance Governance System (PGS), a transformation framework developed by ISA as a way of concretely advocating for public governance reform. The NCC’s role is to endorse public and private sector leaders for the multi-sector panels, and to check PGS performance against its nationwide competitiveness indicators.

    “Our institutions are being studied and competitiveness is being tracked,” said Luz. “Governance matters. It leads to competitiveness, which leads to long-term development.”

    Among those who gave presentations in the forum were: La Union province; the towns of Mariveles, Orani, Pilar, and Samal in Bataan; and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC). The local governments presented visions and strategies based on a local economic niche.

    La Union’s vision is to become the heart of agri-tourism in Northern Luzon by 2025. Its strategy is anchored on agriculture and tourism, which are the true strengths of the towns and cities in the province. Governor Pacoy Ortega hopes the strategy will help elevate his constituents who currently derive livelihood from agriculture, and at the same time set standards for tourism in the region. “While there is competition among LGUs in the province, I would also like to think we complement each other. We need to learn how to use both to our advantage,” Ortega said.

    Of the four Bataan towns that gave presentations, three identified tourism-related strategies as well. Orani envisions itself as one of the top five eco-tourism destinations in central Luzon; Pilar aims to be the historical-cultural center of Luzon; and Mariveles is eyeing the top spot in terms of industrial tourism. The remaining Bataan town, Samal, is working on being within the top three preferred sites for agro-industrial enterprises. All of these visions will be completed by 2020.

    Former Interior Secretary Mel Sarmiento, who was a panelist at the forum, advised on the importance of the mayor’s role. “The role of the mayor is to be an initiator,” Sarmiento said. “At the same time, you should be able to show the public the effects of what you’re doing.”

    Meanwhile, PCMC envisions itself to be the country’s premier institution in pediatric and perinatal research, training and service. Its executive director, Julius Lecciones, said that he hopes that by undertaking a transformation program, the hospital leadership’s sincerity can be “felt by the rank and file and connected and channeled to their work with the patients.” Dr. Francisco Duque, who formerly headed the Department of Health (DoH), reminded of the importance of aligning the hospital’s strategy with the overall national strategic agenda. “It’s key to align to the DoH agenda and roadmap, which complies with the Millennium Development Goals [of the United Nations],” Duque said. “You have all the ingredients to accelerate the execution of your strategy.”

    All six presenting organizations were recognized for their efforts in the event’s closing ceremonies. “It is always an inspiring and uplifting experience to witness these transformation stories in the public governance forum,” said Luz. “I would also like to thank the panelists for participating in this exercise of transparency and accountability. Over the years, we have seen how competitive and committed to their plans our public officials have become.”

    The next public governance forum will be held in November 2017 as part of the “Dream Philippines Fair”, which not only showcases transformation stories but also features plenary roundtable discussions exploring various national and global governance issues.

    “Those who pay attention to governance do well,” Luz said in closing. “I am always proud to represent NCC at the forum and I can assure you of our continued partnership.”

    To learn more about the public governance forum, visit isacenter.org.

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