Good governance, education: Fuels for a better future
by: Harvey S. Keh
The Manila Times
Over the weekend, the Ate-neo de Manila University-School of Government and the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership organized a leadership training program for local government officials from all over Luzon. The program, titled Champions for Education, was aimed at helping local government officials become more adept at addressing key problems in basic education among their constituents. Our main partner for this activity was SEAOIL whose company slogan, Fueling a Better Future, was certainly in line with what we wanted to achieve in this program which is to help build a better future for every Filipino child by providing them with access to quality basic education.
Through the support of SEAOIL, the program will also be brought to the Visayas this coming December and in Mindanao in February 2012.
Rice for education program
The keynote speaker for the training program was no less than Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo who in his 18 years as Mayor of Naga City made sure that education was a priority in his local government unit (LGU). Robredo shared several best practices with the participants of the program, most of whom were city and municipal mayors who were very eager to learn about these best practices that they could also implement in their own LGUs.
Robredo shared that one of the things that he did was to provide sacks of rice to families whose children are able to complete their attendance in school. This would discourage families from forcing their children to drop out of school since by keeping them there, this would already assure that the family would have adequate supply of rice every month. Robredo also added that this would also augur well politically since those that you gave rice to will not forget the help that you gave them through the years and thus, they will then vote for you to ensure that the program will continue.
Ensuring people participation in education
In addition to this, Robredo also emphasized the need to consult parents with regard to the needs of their children. He cited an example in which the school principal came up to him and asked for funds to renovate their covered courts but upon hearing this, a parent said that perhaps it would be good to use the funds to buy science books first before renovating the covered courts. With this experience in mind, Robredo then decided to reinvent the Local School Board in Naga City.
The LSB is co-chaired by the Mayor and the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Schools Division Superintendent. The main function of the LSB is to allot the Special Education Fund (SEF) which should be used to augment the DepEd’s budget to help improve the public schools. Most of the time, it is only the mayor who decides on how the SEF is to be used. In practice the SEF is often used to buy basketball uniforms and to organize sports events instead of using it to address the real needs of the schools which are books and other educational materials.
Robredo made sure that his SEF would be well spent by making sure that different stakeholders in the community such as the parents and teachers would be heard on how and where to spend the city’s SEF. Through people’s participation and proper consultation, the needs of the students are identified and addressed properly. The result is every year the national achievement test scores of the students of Naga City have consistently increased while the drop out rates have been minimized. These are done through transparency, participatory leadership and governance innovations that were introduced by Robredo.
Slow pace of Justice
Just last week, we read about the news of the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, an Italian priest that known to have been a staunch advocate of promoting the rights of the indigenous peoples. While there is still much debate on why Fr. Tentorio was killed, what is really important right now is to ensure that the perpetuators of this heinous crime be immediately caught and punished with the full force of the law.
If there is one thing that has been a constant eyesore of our country in the eyes of the international community, it has been the very slow pace of justice here. The Maguindanao massacre is now two years old and yet, no one among those that have committed this gruesome act has been convicted and put to jail. Up until now, the killers of Dr. Gerry Ortega are still on the loose while just recently, Roy Bagtikan Gallego, a radio announcer from Surigao del Sur was gunned down on his way to his radio program. These extrajudicial killings will continue to grow unless our government will ensure that our law enforcement agencies immediately work on catching these criminals and our judicial bodies be swift to render justice to them.
This can only be done if corruption is minimized if not totally eradicated in our judiciary which up until now is still highly influenced by those who have power and money. Many of these hired killers continue to have the courage to go on with their unlawful actions because they know that they can get away with it. Enough with the bold statements and promises to curb criminality. The only way our government can instill discipline in each and every Filipino is to show all of us that crime does not pay by placing these criminals behind bars permanently where they belong.
Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Year after the Maguindanao Massacre, Political Killings still continue
Kaya Natin! condemns killing of newly-elected Brgy. Captain Alfredo Salvador
We, the leaders of the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership strongly condemn the recent killing of newly elected Brgy. Captain Alfredo Salvador of Baranggay Bagong Sikat, Alicia, Isabela. Last November 18, Salvador and his mother were on their way home from the public market when they were ambushed by gunmen on motorcyles.
We believe that this incident is politically motivated since Salvador recently won over the highly favored incumbent Brgy. Captain. Salvador is known in his community as an honest, upright and good man who won without resorting to any form of vote-buying or electoral fraud. Moreover, as the election for Alicia’s Association of Baranggay Captains (ABC) President nears, we highly suspect that this is a means to instill fear and intimidate local leaders who are not considered to be allies of those in power.
We call on the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to immediately work towards catching the perpetuators of this detestable crime and give justice to the family of Brgy. Captain Alfredo Salvador. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a political killing such as this has occurred in Isabela in recent times. Last year, Michael Valdez, provincial supervisor of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) was shot dead and last month, former Sangguniang Bayan member Abi Salazar of Palanan, Isabela was also shot dead as he was considered to be a shoo-in for baranggay captain in his baranggay. These two cases remain unresolved up to now. Thus, we also strongly urge PNP Isabela Provincial Director Jimmy Rivera to immediately hunt down the perpetuators of these heinous crimes and bring them to justice.
Finally, as we commemorate the first anniversary of the tragic Maguindanao Massacre, we fear that if the perpetuators of these crimes remain unpunished, this may lead to a culture of impunity and lawlessness in Isabela similar to what had transpired in Maguindanao. We strongly believe that unless these political killings are immediately resolved and criminals are brought to justice, the attainment of good governance in our country will never be achieved. If the present administration is truly serious about bringing our country “sa matuwid na daan”, its leaders will seriously work towards ensuring equal justice and protection to every Filipino regardless of social status and political affiliation.
Hon. Grace Padaca, former Governor, Isabela
Hon. Cecilia “Jeng” Reyes, Mayor, Alicia, Isabela
Hon. Teofisto Guingona III, Senator
Hon. Eddie Panlilio, former Governor, Pampanga
Hon. Sonia Lorenzo, former Mayor, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija
Hon. Jorge “Bolet” Banal, Jr., Representative, Quezon City
Hon. Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Representative, Ifugao
Hon. Kaka Bag-ao, Representative, AKBAYAN
Hon. Neric Acosta, former Representative, Bukidnon
Hon. Fermin Mabulo, former Mayor, San Fernando, Camarines Sur
Hon. Florante Gerdan, former Mayor, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya
Hon. Janaree Disomimba, former Mayor, Tamparan, Lanao del Sur
Hon. Mary Jane Ortega, former Mayor, San Fernando, La Union
Hon. Roque Verzosa, Jr., Mayor, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur
Hon. Shirlyn Macasarte, Board Member, North Cotabato
Hon. Valente Yap, Mayor, Bindoy, Negros Oriental
Hon. Gloria Congco, Mayor, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija
Hon. Marivic Belena, Mayor, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija
Hon. Mabel Sunga-Acosta, former Councilor, Davao City
Hon. Francis Tinio, former Councilor, Binalonan, Pangasinan
Hon. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, former Councilor, Bacolod City