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    Speech at Tarlac Citizens’ Summit

    28 August 2016 delivered on 27 August 2016

    It is an honor to have been invited in your event this afternoon.

    It is a topic very close to my heart. My husband was Mayor of Naga for six terms for almost 20 years. And his governance was really anchored on people participation.

    ‘Yong pinakapamumuno po ng aking asawa ay naging matagumpay dahil naging buod nito ‘yong pakikilahok ng mamamayan, ng ordinaryong mamamayan sa pamamahala. Hayaan n’yo po akong ikuwento lang nang kaunti kung paano naging ganito ‘yong kanyang paniniwala sa governance.

    You know when my husband was first elected as Mayor of Naga in 1988 that was the first local elections after EDSA, he was 29 years old. Batang bata pa po. ‘Yong pinasok niyang bureaucracy ay very traditional. Very traditional, grabe ‘yong resistance to change.

    Ang problema pa po noon ay my husband was a minority mayor. There were six of them running in the elections, my husband won the elections but he won by only 24% of the votes dahil ang dami nilang naghati-hati.

    So mas marami pa din ‘yong hindi bumoto sa kanya. Nanalo siya, nanalo ang kanyang vice mayor.

    But of the 10-man city council, tatlo lang ang kanyang kakampi. Siya ang pinakabata of all of them, siya ang pinakabata sa council, siya ‘yong mas bata sa vice mayor.

    ‘Yong problema even after the elections, the election fever remained high. So lahat ng pagbabagong gustohing i-introduce ng asawa ko, sinasalungat ng city council. At ‘nong nanalo ‘yong asawa ko, kasi minority lang sila, maliit lang ‘yong members nila doon, 7 ang kalaban.

    So my husband tried to introduce a number of innovations. But remember in 1988 ito, government was very different. Katatapos lang ng EDSA etc etc.

    Natatandaan ko, ‘yong pinakaunang change na gustong i-introduce ng asawa ko, as simple as putting up a Bundy clock in city hall. Noong mga panahong iyon hindi pa uso ang Bundy clock pero pinilit ng asawa kong maglagay kasi naging ugali ng mga empleyado noon sa city hall na dadating anytime they want to, umaalis anytime they also want to leave the office.

    Paglagay niya ng Bundy clock, nag-rally ‘yong lahat ng empleyado against him. They felt very insulted dahil naglagay ng Bundy clock ang asawa ko.

    ‘Yong second, this happened in a span of one month, ‘yong pangalawa, nagpa-exam siya sa lahat ng empleyado. But the reason for the exam was for him to find out the strengths and the weaknesses of all the employees so he would have a free hand on which office he would assign the employees to.

    Pero it was taken again as another insult and there was a fear that the exams would be used as a means, as a reason for my husband to remove people from office.

    But he never did that. Wala naman po siyang inalis, ang pinaka-purpose n’ya lang, alam lang niya saan best suited ang mga empleyado. And there was a lot of rally, I guess it was because of that.

    ‘Nong nafu-frustrate na ang asawa ko, 3 years pa lang noon, sabi niya pagganito nang ganito, walang mangayayri sa aking termino.

    What he did was he approached our archbishop. Lumapit siya at nagpatulong. ‘Nong nagpatulong siya sa archbishop, Archbishop Legaspi assigned to my husband those who were heading the social action center.

    So nag-brainstorm sila, naisip nila to organize parallel groups pero composed of ordinary citizens. So they went to the parishes, they organized all sectors, mga kababaihan, mga laborers, mga farmers, music groups etc etc.

    In-organize nila lahat. And it paved the way for the creation of a people’s council. ‘Yong people’s council namin naging very successful, the Naga City People’s Council.

    In fact it became a model for many other people’s councils that were institutionalized all over the country. Pero ‘yong kagandahan ng pagbuo ng people’s council, it became a sort of a tipping point.

    Naiba na ‘yong pagtingin sa governance. Kasi ang people’s council was given a seat at the table of governance. Meaning to say, ‘nong dating ang nagtatrabaho lang ang gobyerno, ngayon parati nang kabahagi ang people’s council.

    So all the sectors were represented, they all had representatives. Not only in the evaluation of government project but as early as the planning stages. So planning, execution, monitoring, evaluation, parating may umuupo na members of the people’s council.

    And until it evolved into something that’s institutional already. ‘Yong people’s council mayroon nang umuupo sa lahat ng opisina sa city hall, lahat ng committees ng Sanggunian, lahat ng bodies na na-create ng gobyerno, lahat na sila umuupo.

    Matagal ang pag-evolve ng proseso, but if you are familiar with the innovations that my husband introduced when he was secretary of the DILG, ‘yong bottom-up budgeting, kung naalala ninyo BUB.

    Dati nagpaplano lang kung saan mapupunta ang pera ng gobyerno ‘yong national government, pero because of BUB, mayroon na tayong tinatawag na LPRAT, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it at all, pero ‘yong LPRAT ‘yong ordinaryong mamamayan meron nang say kung saan nila gusto mapapunta ‘yong pera ng gobyerno.

    The concept started in Naga because of the people’s council. Those from the local governments unit here, my husband also introduced ‘yong Seal of Good Housekeeping. ‘Yong Seal of Good Housekeeping, ‘yon naman parang pinupuwersa ‘yong mga local government to set up.

    Pero isang pondo is the Performance Challenge Fund. Ang puwede lang mag-access doon ‘yong mga local government units na nagco-comply with scorecards. Parang mayroong mga scores na kailangan niyang i-comply.

    Pag nag-cocomply siya doon, puwede siyang mag-access ng pera. So it was like a carrot and stick thing for local government officials that also happened in Naga. Sa Naga maraming lumalapit sa mga LGUs na mga kapitan nanghihingi ng proyekto para sa kanyang barangay.

    Haharap nila ‘yong performance challenge fund, pag nag-comply ka doon sa mga parameters, saka ka lang pwedeng mag-apply. So it forces local government units to step up, as far as governance is concerned.

    This was highly successful as far as efforts for transparency and accountability on public officials is concerned. Because of the people’s council, we were also able to establish the citizen’s charter. ‘Yong sa amin, ‘yong lahat ng serbisyo ng city hall, nakapalaman sa isang libro. And the book was called a Citizen’s Charter.

    ‘Yong libro lahat ng house services tinitingnan noon. Pag bukas mo ng libro, all the services of city hall are there. Every page is devoted to every service. Halimbawa, how to apply for a business permit, one page. Pero pag bukas mo ng page, in a tabular form, nakalagay na doon ang step by step procedures.

    Step 1, what requirements should you bring with you, how much should you bring with you. Anong opisinang pupuntahan mo, sino ang hahanapin mo, how much time is expected for step one to, para matapos ang isang step.

    So before mag-line dito sa city hall to avail of the service, alam na nila kung gaano katagal. Applying for a business permit would take, before it would take 3 weeks, pero ‘nong nagkaroon na ng citizen’s charter, 2-3 days na lang. ‘Yong mga ganoon.

    After availing of every service, mayroon kaming feedback mechanism. Ito ay sasagutan at isa-submit mo sa committee na also composed of the people’s council for them to evaluate the performance of government employees. At it also became the basis for performance bonuses.

    So ‘yong sa akin what am I driving at and why am I telling you this. Because this is the very essence of why we are here this afternoon. To explore avenues of partnerships between the private sector and government. And the core really of everything that we did in Naga, was to treat ordinary citizens not only as beneficiaries but as partners in development.

    ‘Yong paniniwala po namin pag ‘yong tao yoon ang treatment sa kanya, kapag kabahagi siya ng lahat ng pagod at lahat ng successes ng governance, ‘yong ordinaryong tao ang pakiramdam niya siya ay stakeholder.

    Hindi lang tagatanggap ng grasya, pero kabahagi kung paano nakukuha ang grasya. Kaya people have transformed in the way they deal with government, people have transformed in the way they accept government benefits because they already have a say in it, they feel the sense of ownership.

    And since then, ‘yong sa amin naramdaman namin ‘yong pag surge ng development ng Naga because everyone was in the bill already. Hindi gaya noon very traditional, pag umupo ang pinuno, mahusay ang LGU.

    Pag hindi mahusay ang pinuno, wala na din ang LGU. It was very focused on the individual as a public servant. Pero sa amin, naalala ko po ‘nong nabubuhay pa ang asawa ko, when he was encouraging people to become more active in governance, parati niyang sinasabi na may mga public officials na dadaan lang. Pero kayong mga tao, parati kayong nandiyan. So dapat, hindi lang kami ‘yong mahusay, pero dapat lahat tayo maging mahusay. Para kung wala na kami, mahusay pa din ang iiwan namin. And that’s what exactly happened in Naga.

    Even after the years when my husband was not Mayor anymore, Naga continued soaring high. In fact it’s more now, for the second straight year as the most competitive city.

    Because the ordinary citizen is an empowered citizen. The ordinary citizen looks at himself/herself as part of the government. And ‘yon yong kailangan natin.

    Kailangan natin na ang ordinary citizens looking at themselves as partners in government. Ordinary citizens having a stake at governance. Ordinary citizens accepting the responsibility together with the government officials.

    So this afternoon I want to thank Vessels of Humanity for the initiative also of course the provincial government of Tarlac, for opening its doors to people participation.

    It’s the only way to do it. It’s one that makes good governance.

    Maraming maraming salamat po.

    Posted in Speeches on Aug 28, 2016