Saturday, April 4, 2009

Marikina and Tabaco Albay: an Experience

by Toti Dulay

Tabaco City is the City of Love. The name Tabaco came from the word tabak, meaning jungle bolo. I thought it came from tobacco. There are so many things that we Marikenos can learn from the city.

Their Community Based Monitoring System is well in place. It can serve lots of purpose – economic mapping and even practical politics. The data gathering process can also provide livelihood to data gatherers. The system, according to Mayor Kristel Lagman – Luistro, was designed by DILG and it can provide technical assistance to LGU’s who want to use the system. The system is quite costly and massive, and if not handled properly, maybe wasteful. Wasteful in the sense that since computer operations are basically garbage in, garbage out, a late or incomplete data maybe garbage and therefore may produce useless output.. Applying this system to a big city like Marikina maybe cumbersome. If only computers are ready and are dedicated to the project and the field interviews will have deadlines, then, a proper timeline can be made and therefore, this project, despite being costly, might have so many good use.

The 2009 Tabaco City Proposed IRA and the process of budgeting is commendable. Being open and well deliberated, it can be a sign that nobody is making money from the infrastructure or purchases coming from IRA. A self bested proposal could have been shot down in the session by the other members in that august body. The approach was a novelty and maybe worth trying in Marikina, if only to show to the whole world that Marikina is an honest city. In the session, an NGO’s can push for their project and deliberate on other project proposals. It is a good governance in action – accountable and participatory. To some upcoming political leaders, it could also be a chance to be known…with their bright ideas and commitment. It would also be a way to cement alliances. Again, by mere size, calling an assembly like that in Marikina, although intentionally good, maybe cumbersome to handle. Besides, there so many articulate leaders in Marikina that makes time management a challenging task. Of course, the whole proceedings will depend on the facilitative ability of the presiding officer. In the case of Tabaco, somebody, the budget officer, has already consolidated the budget proposal, divided them into sectors, namely; social development, economic development, infrastructure, administrative and advocacy. Specific projects are listed and deliberated openly.

The Eco- Adventure Tour is fantastic. For P3,000 only, a 2 days 2 night s tour which include retrospective trips, sightseeing, swimming, wall climbing, zip slide and film shows. The package includes service vehicle, entrance fee, twin – sharing accommodation (hotel/resort), meals, harness and head gear for climbing and token. Marikina should also come up with lots of package tour and sell them to tourists.

The packaging of Tabaco is also a state of the art, understandably because the mayor is a former congresswoman and a UP Public Administration student. Their brochure is chic, complete and informative. They are trying to find some distinctions, something that will make them different from the rest, e.g. padyak capital of the Philippines, the city of love, the tabak making capital, the only town with road access to Mayon volcano etc.

As a tourism destination, it is promoting the Tabak Festival, the Tabaco City Fiesta and Semana Santa. Tabaco is also promoting Mayon volcano, Mayon Planetarium and Science Park, the City Hall which has a unique architecture, the St. John the Baptist Parish Churh, the Tabaco Cimburrio, Isla Punta Beach Resort, Mountain Biking, Tabaco International Port, Swimming/Snorkeling/Diving, Borcel’s Farm and Nature Spring, ibos – latik delicacy, marcasotes cake, Ice Blinkers halo – halo, and abaca bags.

The warmth and hospitality of the Mayor is really fascinating. With beauty and intellect, she is a good public relations practitioner oozing with sincerity. The briefing in her office is good and informative. Her staff are cooperative. The merienda of ibos – latik is the best. The lunch in a Chinese restaurant, and the most of all, the souvenir – an authentic Tabaco tabak for everyone – is surely a collector’s item, specially the fact that it was personally handed by the Mayor herself. I displayed mine prominently in my private office at home, which is always a talking point among my visitors. Bayani Fernando and Mayor Kristel Lagman – Luistro, in a way, share one common philosophy – make do of what you have. The ideas of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando put forward in a party building workshop held recently in Astoria Plaza in Pasig City, for his own Kabayani Party. He said that bureaucratic structures all over the world may not have major differences because they are based on the needs of men. Since the needs of men are somewhat predictable and similar, ergo, structures addressing these needs are almost similar. What makes the difference among good organizations and bad organizations is the management. This is somewhat similar to the idea of Herbert Simon on his reaction to POSDCORB saying that decision making is more important that prescriptive proverbs. Fernando emphasizes the virtue of good leadership, political will and action - even quoting an author from his personal readings saying that “men of pure intellect do not rule the world but those who have the will and action.” To Fernando, a leadership that inspire followers and staff is capable of coming out with good management because it will have a cascading effect of good management and judgment from up to bottom. To him, it is useless to keep on blaming the structure, because structure will always be essentially the same. Rather, it is better to concentrate on good management to mitigate the imperfections of the structure. One way of putting good management into action is to stop old programs that does not address effectively the priority needs of the constituents and initiate programs that address them on its root. In Marikina, flooding was solved by not just occasional cleaning of drainage that may be used for political visibility but on engineering solution of directing the flow of water into the river by building drainage system that are not circuitous and leads to the river in the shortest route possible. This is a combination of good management, good decision making and an engineering expertise, he being an engineer. Fernando fights the corruption in the bureaucracy and he will even dramatize them “para wag pamarisan” (to serve as example). At one time, he fired his long term political strategist who is making money demolishing informal settlers using governmental resources and authority in behalf of private individuals. In a way, Mayor Kristel Lagman – Luistro has not played around too much with theories but tried to implement what is incrementally doable that could add up to the betterment of the public

Lastly, Vice - Mayor Salazar and Prof. Ocenar are the best. That is why; I suggested to the class that we express our appreciation to the two by way of a dinner – videokee session. Surely, the field trip is one of memorable adventures and study tour we all have, especially me. I am really wondering up to now why I became dizzy going up to the Mayon Volcano? I have driven my own car in much longer routes and nothing of that sort happened. That is why, I can not forget this doctoral class.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

holy mackerel!!! when is it going to be like marikina? that town, tabaco (a city?? gosh, you're pulling my leg?)has the only supermarket in the world where you find the vendors outside it and not inside.heh, heh,heh..talking about your tourist attractions??? golly, that town sucks!! padjak all over!! and your mayor?? another lagman bloodmoney leech?? you suckers from this town -- when are you gonna stop sucking up to that stinky vulture lagman???