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    Speech at the RAFI Triennial Awards Leaders of Change Conference

    23 August 2016 Cebu

    It is always a happy occasion to be back in Cebu especially in the month of August. This is the same month I lost my husband four years ago and this is the last place he was alive. Since four years ago, I have always held Cebu very close to my heart.

    Governor Junjun and Vice Governor Agnes know for a fact that after we celebrated his first death anniversary, I have been to Cebu many times already.

    Today is doubly important in the sense that I am attending an occasion that my husband would have attended when he was alive.

    Before I came over, I was telling Mr. Bobby that I read about the Bugsay principle already. Before we entered the room, I watched the 4-minute video of all the inspiring things that Raffy has been doing and I was telling myself that it is a privilege and honor to be joining you today in such an important occasion.

    I actually had a speech prepared but I decided not to read it anymore. In the sense that after I saw the video you showed me, I remembered my husband. After reading the Bugsay principle, it is exactly the principle that my husband has been espousing ever since he became the mayor of Naga in 1988. He was the mayor of Naga for 6 terms. He was mayor of Naga for almost 20 years.

    Most of you only know of his accomplishments as mayor what you do not know perhaps were his first few years as mayor when he had a very difficult time when he was trying to break from a very traditional form of governance.

    When my husband was first elected mayor, he was 29 years old. He encountered a city hall that was really steeped with tradition. Tradition that was not exactly good.

    Noong naging mayor ang asawa ko, ang una niyang napansin ang mga empleyado walang oras. Civil service was not taken seriously. The first thing that my husband did was to put up a Bundy clock.

    At noong naglagay siya ng Bundy clock, nag-rally ang mga empleyado. Sabi ng mga empleyado, insulto naman yata sa amin ito.

    Ang bata-bata ng Mayor pero wala siyang tiwala. But my husband held on.

    The first election was a very difficult one because he was a minority Mayor. There were six candidates running, he was number 1 but got only 21 percent of the votes.

    His majority was only 900 as against the second. Parang eleksiyon ko din ngayon kakaunti lang ang lamang niya sa pangalawa so there is always the threat of you know, he had election cases.

    The vice mayor was with him but of the ten-man city council, only three were with him. So you can see the struggle in the first year, lahat hinaharang ng konseho.

    Wala siyan hinain na ipinasa ng konseho. After putting up a Bundy clock, the next thing he did was to order everyone to take an aptitude test. His purpose was just to find out where the employees were best-suited pero nag-rally ulit mga empleyado kasi sabi nila, itong bagong mayor naghahanap lang ng paaraan na alisin tayo but that never happened.

    But slowly things began to fall into place. Because he had the minority in the council, lahat ng pinopropose niya, hinaharang talaga.

    That was when my husband thought to get the help of the Catholic Church. Nagpunta siya sa simbahan, kay Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi. He was very helpful and assigned a priest heading the social action council to help my husband.

    Ang ginawa nila dahil hindi cooperative and city council, they created a people’s council. It was the start of the multi-awarded Naga City People’s Council and it was actually started by the Catholic Church.

    Kasi ayaw makialam ng asawa ko sa pag-organize kasi sabi ng asawa ko it would defeat the purpose kasi the council should be the fiscalizer of the government. The council was supposed to assist the government but not in a political way.

    Ayaw niya na lapdog ang council. The Catholic Church was the representative of the council and all of the representatives of all the sectors are represented in the council. What was surprising was that many people were interested and very much willing to help. Maraming tao na gustong makilahok.

    That was the start of the council and everything just fell into place. That time, the most pressing issue of was the urban poor sector so the city council with my husband as the primary advocate launched the Kaantabay sa Kauswagan. I do not know the Cebuano term is but it means partners in development.

    So the concept as far as helping in the housing needs of the urban poor, they were not treated as beneficiaries rather, they were partners for development. So iyong urban poor sector maraming capacity building na nangyari until they were capacitated to plan for themselves and that bankrolled the urban poor program of the city.

    And from then, doon na nag-umpisa ang lahat na, ito ang bottom up. Kaya when my husband became DILG Secretary, actually the concept of bottom up budgeting started with him because when there was already a people’s council, my husband introduced a budgeting system.

    Diba iyong budget ginagawa ng Mayor, ng executive, iyong budgeting system really came from the council.

    People’s participation in the budget deliberation process, doon nga nag-umpisa. Later on we developed a program called the Naga City People’s Charter, I don’t know if any one of you, siguro, may nakabista na ba sa Naga? Marami na. Marami na nakabisita sa Naga. I don’t know if you saw our, because all the households in Naga have a book, it’s called the Naga Citizen’s charter.

    Each page is devoted to a particular service that city hall offers. Halimbawa, how to apply for a birth certificate, how to apply for a business permit. And pag bubukas mo ng isang page there is a table there already which outlines the step-by-step procedure that each one is expected to undergo.

    But it is very detailed in the sense that each step will contain, halimbawa, you apply for a certification, saan ka pupunta, sinong tao hahanapin mo, anong requirements dapat dala-dala mo, gaano katagal.

    Halimbawa, to pay for this particular service, this will be the amount you have to bring, this will take, let’s say, seven minutes.

    So everything to the dot. And at the end of each service may feedback form, iyong feedback form sinu-submit sa Committee assigned to that. And the Committee is not only composed of city hall employees but a mix of government and civil society.

    Mayroon siyang, I forgot the name already but it’s a team that evaluates all the services that are incorporated in the Naga City Citizen’s Charter.

    It becomes a source of performance bonuses of employees, iyong nakaka-comply doon nagkakaroon ng incentives. So it’s like a carrot and stick thing also. So if you recall, doon din nagsisimula ang commitment pledges ng mga employees.

    Every office, once you enter the office, there is a performance pledge, a commitment pledge, mayroon din, alam mo rin ang pangalan ng lahat ng empleyado sa bawat opisina, nakalagay ang wherabouts, etc., etc., so everything was really transparent.

    Iyong tatlong elements ng good governance were present: transparency, accountability of all government officials and most important of all is people’s participation.

    And that gave way to I think what is trying to be conceptualized now, iyong scorecard system. We also introduced the scorecard system pero sa amin barangay. Kais ang sa amin city lang. Sa barangay may scorecard system.

    My husband was a prime believer that we do not do anything that cannot be measured. So siya, lahat na nag-uumpisa sa baseline, lahat na ginagawa, sinusukat.

    So all the barangays have their scorecards, mayroon ding incentive system. If you recall, I don’t know how many of the local officials here already worked with my husband when he was DILG Secretary.

    He got the model of the Seal of Good Housekeeping from the City Scorecards. Iyong Seal of Good Housekeeping, what happened was there was a performance challenge fund, the DILG Secretary had the discretion to give to whomever local government unit a portion of the performance challenge fund.

    But when my husband became DILG Secretary, ano iyon, naging, may formula. Iyong makaka-access lang doon sa pondo ay iyong may Seal of Good Housekeeping. So again, the same approach, it was just scaled up to a national level and my husband was just hoping that when he started that that would be adopted by most of the local government units as well.

    Because it really simplifies everything, but simplifies in the sense that all the three elements of good governance are there. Iyon nga, transparency, accountability and people’s participation.

    It’s just a pity that my husband was given two years in DILG but I think he was able to plant the seeds of the principles that he wanted to espouse for a long time and we are just so happy that local government officials, like Gov. Junjun, Vice Gov. Agnes who are also like my husband in the sense that they are very progressive, simple but very effective in their positions.

    And, all of you being here today is enough manifestation that like Gov. Junjun, Vice Gov. Agnes, of course like Mr. Bobby, and my good friend Cong. Lao, who is also a well-known good governance advocate in Butuan, are all one for dreaming for better governance in our local government units.

    Maraming, maraming pang hindi tayong nasusubukan, hindi nasubukan ng asawa ko. Na marahil na nasubukan ninyo na mas maayos. But you know, the essence really here is partnership between the government and private.

    Where everyone is treated like as an equal partner, where individuals are given voice in deciding what they want for themselves, where everyone, especially the less privileged are given a seat at the table so they would have a chance to contribute to whatever government plans for them.

    Iyong paniniwala po namin is when everyone is given the chance to be heard, when everyone is given chance to be treated not as beneficiaries but as partners in development, they have ownership of government’s projects, they consider themselves stakeholders, and there is better partnership between the government and the private citizen.

    This morning we would like to thank Raffy, we would like to thank Mr. Bobby, everyone in the organization who has worked with the provincial government of Cebu and all the other local government units here present for continuously looking for ways to improve governance.

    For continuously inspiring all of us to do better.

    Parati po sinasabi ng asawa ko noong nabubuhay siya, sabi ng city hall employees, “Grabe naman si Mayor, hindi nakukuntento.”

    Pag nagsabi na daw ang asawa ko, “Very good.”

    Hindi pa iyon tapos.

    Parati sasabihin niya, “Let’s make it better.”

    Pag better na daw sabi pa daw na, “Let’s do our best.”

    Pag best na, mayroon pa rin, “Let’s make the best better.”

    So ganon din ang ginagawa natin dito. Hindi nakukuntento, pero hindi nakukuntento in the sense that parati tayo naghahanap ng mas maayos, mas effective na paraan para mas maging effective tayo sa ating sinumpaang katungkulan, sa paninilbihan sa ating bayan.

    Maraming salamat po, congratulations to everyone!

    Posted in Speeches on Aug 23, 2016