Gov 101

Posted at 11/21/2012 1:47 AM

On November 22, Kaya Natin is launching a booklet as part of our continuing effort to promote good governance and ethical leadership. This booklet is a joint effort between Kaya Natin Movement, Ateneo School of Government, and Friedrich Naumannn Freedom Foundation to create a digest of the roles of our government officials.

The digest aims to clarify and create a growing understanding of government leadership roles for responsible voters in order for them to have a way to choose the leaders for their community and the country.

Kaya Natin has decided to release this booklet taking into account capacity as a necessary part of leadership competence. “We hope to continue Sec. Jesse’s legacy of promoting ‘Matino at Mahusay na pamumuno’”, Wendel Balderas said in a DZBB interview with Joel Zobel.

As Secretary Jesse Robredo said, “Sa Kaya Natin sinasabi nating, kaya mong maging matino at mahusay na pinuno. At dahil dito, mas marami kang magagawa para sa bayan.” (In Kaya Natin, we always say that we need goodness and competence as a leader. And because of this, leaders can do more.)

The booklet seeks to empower the voters in how to exact accountability with elected officials. This will enable us to know exactly what their roles are and what we can ask of them. As Harvey Keh, lead convenor of Kaya Natin says, “Public office is about public trust...” This booklet hopes to build on that trust by letting voters have a clear standard of how leaders function. When we say leaders should be good, we will have a basis on what “good” means.

Beyond voter awareness, This is also an entry point for individuals and community organizations to participate properly. This breaks the long held notion that government is only for elected or appointed officials. For example, by looking at the page about the Local Health Board and the Local School Board, we can see that as a registered community organization, we have the right to be part of these development and policy making boards in order to see where the money is going and have a hand in doing so. This booklet sets the entry point for citizens that wish to have a deeper participation in governance and development in their community.

The booklet is less than 100 pages. It is well laid out with colorful charts and friendly graphics. The booklet was written to ease the understanding of the readers.

As we continue to promote good governance and ethical leadership, we seek to find ways to communicate this advocacy. We have programs that engage leaders to improve public education and public health. But we also find ways to engage the voters to also be ethical in choosing their leaders. In Kaya Natin, we have come to believe that we cannot sustain ethical leaders without having ethical voters. In terms of economic theory, we cannot have any supply of good leaders if the people do not demand them properly.

During our interview yesterday, there were people who were interested. Joel Zobel asked if we were going to translate it in Filipino so that many more would understand. During our on air conversation, we found that it would help if we spread a digital copy of the booklet. In the future, maybe we can have an e-book version or an App that is interactive. If you have any knowledge in this field, Kaya Natin could really use your help.

For years, we have had a deep desire for good governance leaders. The ground swell during the death of secretary Jesse Robredo is indicative of this demand. Since his death, we have had many local leaders eager to join Kaya Natin. May would stay with us in our seminars and go out of their comfort zones to learn. However, we need to do our part. Good governance is something we as citizens need to work for as well.

In the few months since the death of Sec. Jesse, I have seen a mayors and government workers eager to be part of good governance. Unfortunately, I have also heard from many leaders that their constituents do not care for good governance, there is simply no incentive to work for it. I have also seen this in my engagement in communities. “Marami sa ating mamamayan ay antay-government; antay nalang ng antay kung ano ang kanilang makukuha sa nakaupo sa gobyerno.”

Many would just like to leave this to the elected officials. Few understand the dynamics of good governance and role of the electorate in nurturing good leaders.

If you are not running for any position, are you still willing to work for good governance? Are you willing to commit a small amount of your time to read less than a hundred pages of text to have an initial understanding of the Philippine Government?... Or are you an Antay-Government?

The crafters of this booklet are student themselves. They have gone out of their way to study, learn, and digest this material for you. I would like to commend Jose Miguel Abrillo and Steffi Tady-Idian for leading the team that painstakingly researched this. Clarissa Ines and Jason Ligot for helping to simplify a design that many would understand. This is an example of the Kaya Natin Team productivity.

At Kaya Natin, we move towards good governance.

We enable. But the question begs to be asked, Are you willing to learn?


Comments are welcome at [email protected] or private message through Facebook. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jesslorenzo for stories of good governance.
Jess Lorenzo is currently the program director of Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership's public health initiatives. www.kayanatin.org @kayanatin on Twitter