By Prof. Sofronio “Toti” Dulay, DPA student, UP NCPAG
The Philippines and Singapore are far apart in lots of aspects – territorial size, population, religion, history, dominant race, political culture, etc. To some observers, the two countries are beyond compare.
But a hypothetical question arises: can a part of a country be totally different that it can be comparable to another country on their aspirations. Or to be exact, can Marikina City, being within the cultural, religious, economic, political ambit of the Philippines, aspires to be like Singapore. Can it be done? When Marikina Mayor Marides Carlos Fernando attended as a resource speaker of the doctoral class in public administration, she said that in a certain time of the Fernando’s administration in Marikina, they decided to benchmark on Singapore.
But there is something - a factor in Marikina’s success story - that maybe of interest to the public administration practitioners and the general public. We will call that factor the “Marikina Way”. Is the “Marikina Way” the city’s benchmarking package on Singapore?
Actually, Kerala of India is just like Marikina, in a way. Kerala is part of India; yet, it is better than the average India taken as a whole. “In contrast with the growth – mediated mechanism, the support – led process does not operate through fast economic growth, but works through a program of skillful social support of health care, education, and other relevant social arrangements. This process is well exemplified by the experiences of economies such as Sri Lanka, pre – reform China, Costa Rica or Kerala, which have very rapid reductions in mortality rates and enhancement of living conditions, without much economic growth.”
1.1. Notion of Development
Development is a way to extend freedom and freedom, in a way, also helps development, this is in essence what Sen is telling us in his book. But what is really development? “Activities of modern nation states in promoting their development fall under the four categories previously listed: producing an economic surplus, promoting social and cultural integration, governance and education. For purposes of explanation, they are discussed separately. However, their usefulness to the state for national development comes only through their interaction. All four are so intertwined and interdependent that to select one as preeminent, as economists, business and government have done with producing an economic surplus is to distort understanding of the process.” Development administration therefore is administering or running the affairs of a country to produce an economic surplus, and promote social and cultural integration, governance and education.
1.2. Notion of Administration
Public administration is defined differently defending on context and emphasis. According to David Rosembloom, public administration is the action part of the government. It is the means by which the purpose and goals of government are realized. As a field, public administration is concerned with the means for implementing political values and is identified with the executive branch. It differs with political science on its emphasis on behavior, methodologies and bureaucratic structures. Dwight Waldo defined it as the organization and management of men and materials to achieve the purpose of government. To him, it is the art and science of management as applied to the affairs of the state. According to Raul de Guzman, public administration may be viewed to refer not only those activities in implementing policies and program of the government but also the process and contents of these programs. Gerald Calden, on the other hand define it as a cooperative group effort in public setting showing interrelationships of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. Being part of a political process, it has important role in the formulation of public policy. In a significant way, public administration is different and more important than private administration. It is however closely related with the individuals and private groups providing services to the community. As a field of study and practice, it is closely related to the human relations approach of management.
1.3. Development Administration and Administration of Development
“It is equally true that there is no widespread agreement on the theoretical center and boundaries of the “field”. There is more agreement on the premise that “development administration” is part of the subject matter of public administration.” At this point, we should disabuse our minds by trying to sophisticate a generally simple locus and focus of the concept. The location is public administration and the focus is development. It is using the ideas and processes of public administration for social and economic development.
1.4. How Different is Singapore and the Philippines?
Taken from Freedom House, freedom in the world circa 2008 for the Philippines and Singapore, found at http://www.freedomhouse.org. , the difference of the two countries is enormous. Philippines have a population of 88,700,000 while Singapore has 4,600,000 only. Both countries are partly free but the Philippines scores better in the area of civil liberties and political rights. The Philippines was under the Spain for around 300 years, went under American control in 1998 and got its independence in 1946. The country was once one of the wealthiest in Southeast Asia but since 1960’s; it has been plagued by economic mismanagement, insurgencies and widespread corruption. Singapore started as a British trading center in 1819 and eventually become a British colony. It become independent in 1959, joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 and gained full independence in 1965. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) transformed the poor city into a regional financial center and exporter of high – technology goods, but restricted individual freedoms and hindered political development in the process. The Philippines has a presidential system, almost similar to America. Singapore has a parliamentary system similar to Great Britain. In the Philippines, corruption, cronyism and influence peddling are rife in business and government. Despite the recent economic reforms, a few dozen powerful families continue to play an overarching role in politics and are very wealthy. Singapore is known for lack of corruption. Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perception Index ranked the country fourth out of 180 countries surveyed.
To sum it all Singapore is richer, less corrupt but less free; Philippines is freer, more corrupt and not that rich.
2.0.”Marikina Way”: A Brand of Governance
”Marikina way” is born out of circumstances and experiences of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando and Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando who for the past 15 years, has transformed Marikina City from a neglected, backwater town known only for its shoe industry, into a highly urbanized city capturing the imaginations of the Filipino people by the manner in which it won several local and international awards. Bayani is the only son of a dedicated town Mayor who never enriched himself in public. Being the only boy among several sisters, and with an imposing and nationalistic doting father as his model, Bayani, early in life learned the very foundation of “Marikina Way” – good taste, respect for your neighbor and community, action, godliness, social equity, and political will. Somewhere along the way, he departed from his father’s path when he took engineering instead of his father’s law degree. This is an indication that he is capable of thinking out of the box in addressing a problem. His engineering expertise contributed to the strength of Marikina’s physical reconstruction and MMDA’s ability to solve pressing urban problems. Marides, the current Mayor of the city and the better half of Bayani, on the other hand, is a rich girl born in a silver platter from wealthy industrialist parents of national stature. She was able to continue the social orientation, inculcation of urbanity and urban revitalization in Marikina. When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed Bayani to MMDA, the instruction was to do in Metro Manila what he did in Marikina. This indicates that there is something about “Marikina Way” that excites the imagination of people, even the president of the republic. During the meeting of AIM – based International Movement of Development Managers (IMDM), a proposal of tie - up among IMDM, Konrad Adenuer Foundation and the AIM Policy Center, for a short seminar – workshop among newly - elected local officials about the way things are being done in Marikina (“Marikina Way”). This thing leads to Mayor Marides Fernando formally coordinating with the Ateneo School of Government about Marikina’s grass roots political program and documentation of “Marikina Way”. As we will see, “Marikina Way” is an eclectic style of public administration, picking the best and applicable features of reinventing government, reengineering government, new public administration, new public government, and classical public administration concepts like administrative science, scientific management and Weber’s bureaucratic model.It emphasizes leadership, good taste, expertise, political will, action, good judgments, and good governance in public administration because how can one choose the best approach from the array of contending views of the brightest public administration thinkers of our time, if one does not know, at least, their basic ideas, to begin with. This may sound very elitist and skewed towards highly educated leaders, but the stark reality in leadership is that how will you reach your destination if you do not know where you want to go and you do not know how to get there?
“Marikina Way” emphasizes freedom from the box created by contending academic thinkers because it gives you the flexibility to use your judgment calls as a leader, with only your good taste, love of community, “can-do attitude”, political will, desire for action, love of God and concept of social equity as your basis of action.
2.1. “Marikina Way” in the Lens of Public Administration Concepts
2.1.1. The Scientific Management School
According to Frederick Taylor, there is one best way of performing in any organization and this best way can be discovered by investigating the various components of work and announcing the result of the study to the workers so that they could adopt them. He said that detailed time and motion study improves the efficiency of the production process. He said that every single act of workmen can be reduced to science. It is therefore the role of the managers to design and to conduct experiments, to plan the work process, to discover the efficient techniques and to train workers to these techniques. This will usher the mutuality of interest between workers and entrepreneurs because high productivity gives higher salary or incentives to workers and bigger profit for the entrepreneurs. The key concepts of scientific management school are the identification of a standard of an ideal worker, time and motion study, the work standard and the differential rate system. Taylor’s method was applied more in the ground level and is useful among line managers as it addresses the kind of characteristics the line managers must have. Time and motion study has the following steps: define the task to be studied and inform the workers to be studied, determine the schedule of the study, time the job and rate the workers’ performance, and finally come up with the standard time. In real life however, unionized workers fear that working faster would lead to fewer works available later. There are also instances that the emphasis on too much productivity and profitability leads to exploitation of workers and even customers. This also undermines the discretion and better judgments of the managers. As a whole however, time and motion study eliminates unnecessary motions, combines similar activities, improves the arrangement of workplace and improves the design of tools and equipments. The “Marikina Way” is strong in the advocacy of one – best - way principle, owing to the fact that the main proponent of this eclectic concept is a highly successful mechanical engineer, Bayani Fernando, who made his first million as a businessman constructing high rise building in the country’s main business district. The redesign of road networks in Marikina city which maximizes the use of river banks and creek banks for accessibility, at the same time preventing them from being converted as squatter areas, is an application of ergonomics. Marikina city even has the standard time for the response of the firemen and the policemen by placing public safety substations in strategic places in the city. The advocacy of see – thru fences is also along this line. It creates illusion of spaciousness, prevents crime, and gives beauty to the environment because it will encourage the owners of the place to beautify the area since it is seen by the public. The implementation of set - back from the road in residential and commercial areas, being a law in the building code, is well implemented in Marikina City. Tearing down existing residential and commercial buildings just to comply with the set – back rule as per zoning ordinances, might be very cruel. But, in applying for new construction or major repairs, an applicant is required to comply with the set - back rule, thereby slowly but surely, rectifying the mistakes of the past, thru time. Garbage collection is always on schedule, one set of schedules is for biodegradable wastes and another set is for non biodegradable wastes. The citizens, partly to develop awareness of the system, are required to tie green strings to plastic bags containing the biodegradable waste and pink for the non biodegradable. Incidentally, green is the political color of Bayani Fernando during his political campaigns in Marikina and pink is the color of current mayor Marides Fernando. This scheme combines political campaigning, value formation and operation management. Engineering and construction equipments are well maintained to develop the capacity of the city in doing fast and pro - active engineering responses, like clearing of obstacles on the sidewalks. Bayani Fernando loves to say, in fondness, that some city engineering office in some cities in Metro Manila doesn’t even have the technical capacity to remove an empty, huge and stinking concrete flower base obstructing the side walks of the main thoroughfare of the metropolis. The contribution of “Marikina Way” to the scientific management school of Frederick Taylor is that it is not enough that you identify the one best way, what is important is your will to implement them. That is what differentiates the “Marikina Way” from ordinary scientific management school adherents.2.1.2. New Public Administration (NPA) The so called new public administration was born in 1968 at the Syracuse University, Minnow brook Conference Center. Most of the ideas were contained in Frank Marini’s work “Towards New Public Administration”. New public administration rejects the politics – administration dichotomy of Woodrow Wilson. It believes that administrators, aside from just implementing the will of the state, should make policies too. They should take matters into their hands, so to speak. Another salient idea of NPA is the recognition of values as an important component of public administration. It distanced from the earlier practice of too much emphasis on data collection and statistical manipulation. NPA is more normative in approach. It is an advocate of change. Values and norms occupy a premier role that guides the direction. Social equity is another important concept in NPA. Before NPA, public administration is too much concerned with efficiency and economy, which is too aloof from the nature of public service. Rather, NPA believes that benefits must be greater to those who are disadvantaged. NPA also believes that clients or the public must be allowed to participate in the operations of a public office as a way of a democratic exercise. Cooperation must be the name of the game rather than competition. Finally, NPA believes that change is always a part of public administration, so organizations must be adaptive to change. Organizations must not be static and be pro-active. Organizational restructuring must be based on the needs of public service rather than the internal concerns of the organization itself. “Marikina Way” is heavy on the values and norms of the community due to the fact that the main proponent of this approach, Bayani Fernando, is a “parochial” son of a former mayor of a clannish town, Marikina, which is known for “small town’ values. It is no wonder why “Marikina Way” is pushing for “urbanidad”, which is the right conduct in a highly civilized and urbanized society. Public administration therefore is the vanguard of this community values. This explains the fact that if you walk in the streets of Marikina without any upper shirt, you will be apprehended by the police or barangay tanods because you violated the “urbanidad” values of the community. Drying your clothes (panties, brief, T-shirts, etc.) in front of your house, when you have plenty of space at the back is not only violative of “urbanidad” but a sign of gross bad taste, and so, the public servants, as the implementing arm of the will of the state has the responsibility to rectify this violation of good taste. If you let your dogs roam in the street uncared and unfed, you showed disrespect to your community and therefore, the public servants has the responsibility of correcting your uncaring attitude by hauling your neglected pet into the city pound. Social equity is also very strong in “Marikina Way”. Bayani Fernado hates people calling themselves urban poor because to him, it is derogatory. He even joked to one of his campaign staff saying, “ikaw urban poor ka ng urban poor kaya hanggang ngayon mahirap ka pa rin”. He does not want to call the – used - to - be “squatters” as squatters, not even as “depressed area” residents. He wants to call them “nakatira sa matataong lugar’ or living in a highly populated area. What is the point? He wants to give dignity to everyone as a way of his pursuance of social equity. On record, he was able to relocate thousands of ‘squatter’ families to permanent relocation areas with land titles, electricity, road, water, telephone lines, cable television lines and near to their place of work. To relocate them, Bayani Fernando has to fight rich and professional land grabbers supported by some influential local politicians who were occupying the relocation areas. The fights are both in physical show of force and in court. “Marikina Way”, therefore, defines public administration as using the power of the state to champion justice and social equity.2.1.3. New Public Management (NPM) The New Institutional Economics and New Public Management is a marriage of two different streams of ideas emerging after World War ll – development of public choice and principal agency theory. NPM generated a set of doctrines intended for administrative reforms grounded on transparency, incentive structure, user choice and contestability of public decisions. NPM however is better known in the advocacy for business type managerialism in the public sector, in the tradition of international scientific management movement and respect for technical expertise. In line with business type managerialism, NPM calls for discretionary power of the public entities to achieve results and usher better performance through the development of appropriate cultures and active standardizations and measurements of output. NPM talks about citizens as customers, and the public servants are accountable for the results of their actions. It suggests a more decentralized structure doing a wide variety of alternative service delivery. The “Marikina Way” believes in transparency and showed physical manifestation of this belief by, for instance, breaking the physical disconnects of the city hall employees, by making their offices exist in a glass house, literally seen by the public. No special and separate rooms were provided to the department heads, as a manner of saying that they have to be transparent with their staff. In particular months of the year when long lines are expected for a certain tax payments, for instance, queuing is handled like in private airlines – customers get a number, take their seats and wait for their turn as their numbers are being flash in an electronic gadget just in front of the office. In other words, ‘Marikina Way” is about using a well - settled business sector management practices into the public administration. In the private sector, development of corporate citizenship is a concern. In Marikina city hall, professionalism is very much applied in hiring, uniform (just like the pilot’s uniform), training (they have Center of Excellence), and tapping outside consultants for specific projects.2.1.4. Reengineering Government Reengineering the government is an approach popularized by Michael Hammer and James Champy. It requires fundamental rethinking and more radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements of a set of critical measures such as quality, service, cost and speed of delivery. It advocates for an abandonment of long - established procedures and principles prevalent in government bureaucracy, and instead, invent new processes and structures. It is even willing go to the extend of starting from scratch, just to dramatize the need to reengineer the lethargic bureaucracy. It seeks breakthrough by moving away from ineffective and antiquated ways of government bureaucracy. The need for reengineering comes from intense competition, constants change in the socio - political environment and the pressure from more engaging public. Basically, there are organizations that are more inclined to do reengineering: those in deep trouble, those that are on the verge of achieving the peak of success and want more innovations to fast tract the process, and those who anticipate some problems in the near future. There are key themes in the process of reengineering. It may look on process - the entire process. It may look for aim or ambitions of the leader in his attempt for a breakthrough. It may go for rule - breaking in the field of specializations and sequence of activities. It may decide to deliberately abandon the sense of timing. Reengineering advocates for the creative use of information technology, allowing the organization to work in more radical ways. Some characteristics of the reengineering processes involve combining of several jobs into one, allowing workers to make decisions, steps in the process are done in the natural order, processes have different versions, work is performed where it makes the most sense, checks and control are reduced, reconciliation is minimized, a manager provides a single point of contact and finally, hybrid centralized and decentralized operations are prevalent. The “Marikina Way’ that approximates reengineering is its latest successful effort to connect the different barangays and the offices in the city hall in a centralized information technology network. The leaders of the city government and political party are massively using the SMS or texting technology, and internet, in their daily communications. Mayor Marides Fernando even revealed that there are aspirants in the Kabayani Party (the local party of the Fernando’s) in the coming barangay elections pleading their appeal for endorsement thru text messages to the Mayor. The City Government has been operating under seven major clusters with different offices inside each cluster, namely, administrative support, public order and safety, finance management and project development, citizen’s affairs, infrastructure development and transportation, economic development, and, lastly, health and environment management. Bayani Fernando believes in doing things differently to the point of breaking away from the traditional ways of doing things. In the tradition of reengineering, he initiated the extended rotunda concepts in the main thoroughfare in Metro Manila as the Chairman of Metro Manila Development Authority, thereby solving the massive traffic problems in the past. He initiated the MMDA Art as way of fighting graffiti in Metro Manila streets. He even suggested arming the MMDA enforcers with jungle bolo instead of guns or “batuta”. The logic being, aside from being historical and patently Filipino, a jungle bolo is not as fatal as gun where one can kill people even in a distance, but on the other hand, jungle bolo is not as weak as the “batuta” in cases of heated street encounters. During the latest workshop of top Kabayani Party leaders, Bayani Fernando insisted on changing the usual format of VMOKRAPISPATRES in strategic planning. He suggested a Vision, Will and Action statement followed by a Decalogue. This leads us to one specific highlight of “Marikina Way’ – independence of mind, openness and not being captive to any ideology, approach and theories. “Marikina Way”, being grounded on strong family values and sense of “small town’ community is silent about contentious issues like sex education, population control, and other controversial issues like same sex marriage , mercy killing, and maybe even formation of world government being advocated the followers of The Globalist Manifesto. Some extreme prescriptions in reengineering the government may also run contrary to the basic beliefs expounded in “Marikina Way” despite the fact some of their practices are within the ambit of reengineering the government. “Marikina Way” therefore is a thinking public governance approach that smartly adopts eclectically good concepts and practices from any school of thought as long as they are doable, they serve the public better, and they respect the culture and tradition of the community.2.1.5. Reinventing Government Reinventing the government is one of the emerging public administration approaches today, popularized by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler. It calls for entrepreneurial approaches to governance, characterized by innovations and creative energies in formulating solutions to variety of governmental problems. In a nutshell, it suggests that government must posture in entrepreneurial ways. As such, it may involve revisiting the ways resources and processes are utilized to maximize productivity, efficiency and effectiveness after the realization that the traditional ways of doing things are no longer effective. Reinventing government is grounded on key premises such as belief in the government bureaucracy, that effective government is a requisite in making civilized society works, that public servants are basically good despite of an imperfect system in which they work with, that the conventional or traditional approaches are becoming irrelevant in facing governmental problems today and finally, a belief in equity and equal opportunity for all. Reinventing government advocates for several working principles. The government today must be catalytic, a government that steer, instead of row. A government must be empowering, not serving, believing that it is the community who owned the government. The government must be competitive against fellow government offices and against the private sector in service delivery. We should do away with rule - driven government and usher in a government which is mission - driven. Government must be result - oriented by way of emphasizing results rather than processes. It is not the need of the bureaucracy that is important, rather, the need of the constituencies. The government must be enterprising, emphasizing earnings rather than expenditures. A government must be preventive rather than curative. Decentralization of public institutions should emphasize teamwork rather than hierarchy. Lastly, the government should be market oriented by way of leveraging change through market forces. Having come from the private sector, the concept of reinventing government is very close to the hearts of Bayani Fernando and Marides Fernando, the two major proponents of “Marikina Way”. Interviews with civil servants close to Marides Fernando quoted her as emphasizing cash inflows to the government instead of perennial cash outflows. The logic being that if the government has plenty of resources in its coffers, it will have plenty of flexibility in doing real pro - people projects that are identified as priorities. Bayani Fernando, however, thinks that the government should provide political party finance rather than the political parties raising funds from its members and supporters. To him, this will lessen corruption in the government because political parties are not too pressured to raise campaign funds that usually are always the source of paybacks after elections. Merging social equity with entrepreneurship, “Marikina Way” believes that the rich must have bigger share of burden than the poor as a way of flowing back to the society the blessings that the rich have been reaping. This explains the fact that Marikina increased the real property tax because the rich are the ones that owns real estate properties. Towing of cars illegally park, with cash penalties, also hits the rich because they are the ones that own cars in the first place. While building permits in Marikina are basically free, the logic is that the boom in the construction of structures brought about by free building permits, energizes the economy and increases the aesthetic view of the community. Grantmanship, or grant sourcing, is also being pursued by Marikina City government. A possible partnership with Habitat for Humanity for the housing project of the poor city government employees is now in the pipeline. Funding agencies have worked with the city government on several projects like bike lane, saving Marikina River, etc. Marides Fernando believes that government support does not always mean dole outs. It also means moral support and good governance. One innovative program of the city government on tax collection effort is to provide a system of discounts and amnesty for taxpayers, thereby encouraging early payments and fewer delinquencies. A very specific project, the Marikina Citizens First Privilege Card, provides a series of discount to card holders on some identified private establishments.
2.2.0. “Marikina Way” in Development
Public administration the “Marikina Way”, an eclectic public administration approach whose credence is anchored on the world class progress of Asia’s shoe making capital, Marikina City, and can be viewed in the statement of its city mayor Marides Fernando: “Our city hall is run like a private corporation. We treat our clients as our customers whom we want not only to satisfy but to delight” This view of public administration is within the new public management framework which does not emphasize much the administration and politics dichotomy but on the private sector’s total quality management concept of customer satisfaction. But because “Marikina Way” also uses other paradigms of public administration, it is therefore an eclectic approach to public administration.
2.2.1. The Early Child Health Care and Development Program of Marikina: A Case in Point
How do you run a city like Marikina – clean, organized, international acclaimed, prosperous, peaceful and world class, with its former Mayor one of the leading presidential contenders of the country in the 2010 elections and its present Mayor one of the Top 7 finalists in the World Mayor Award? “Our City Hall is run like a private corporation. We treat our clients as our customers whom we want not only to satisfy but to delight.” – Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando.
The Marikina local government is divided into seven clusters, namely, administrative support, public order and safety, finance management and project development, infrastructure development and transportation, citizens’ affairs, economic development; and, health and environmental management.
The children’s welfare is found under the cluster of citizen’s affair, specifically, in the Social Welfare and Development Office. Aside from this office, the following are also found in the citizens’ affair cluster: Department of Education – Marikina, Public Information Office, Community Relations Office, Marikina Settlements Office, City Women Council, MCF Manpower House, Teens Health Quarter, Local Civil Registry, MCF Privilege Card and the Office of Senior Citizens Affair.
The city Social Welfare and Development Office is one - story structure called Social Action Center, detached from the main building where the Office of the Mayor is housed. In that Social Action Center, several officers are also found like: Volunteers Office, SOCO, PNP and Traffic Management.
The city Social Welfare Development Office has been devolved from DSWD to the city government of Marikina. The office was run by an OIC who is a licensed social worker. Together with the OIC, there was a Consultant directly reporting to the Mayor. The consultant is a TV producer of a child show and was a neighbor of the Mayor in her ancestral house in Pasig. The OIC eventually left the post for personal reasons and joined an entry level job at the Marikina Fiscal’s Office, the Consultant took over as the OIC then hired a 24 – year – old licensed social worker as his assistant.
The city Social Welfare Development Office is picture of a workplace that is changing often, desks are changing depending on the circumstances of the office politics, full of clients daily and perhaps, in an attempt to manage the flow of clients, a sign is posted in the door reminding the customers to whom to report regarding their needs. The post says “services offered”: referral; social case study report; medical, financial and funeral assistance; certificate of indigency, PWD, PYAP/TN; and solo parent. Then, names of concerned staff handling these services are listed .Take note that in the list, there is no specific concern for children’s welfare. The OIC and her assistant have their separate rooms, the rest of the 13 staff are together. On the adjacent room is the Children in Conflict with the Law Shelter with around 25 inmates. Based however on Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, the office has the following services: assistance in crisis situations, referrals, seminars and counseling and child – friendly intervention which handling of juvenile cases. Take note again the lack of mention of child welfare concerns and day care centers despite the fact that the city also manages around six day care centers all over the city of 16 barangays. Barangay councils for the protection of children are not active.
3.0. Singapore: the Model of “Marikina Way” in Governance
Governance is the process of decision making and implementation or non implementation of what were decided. Good governance, on the other hand, has 8 major characteristics. “It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.”
Figure A: Framework of Governance of Singapore
3.1. Transparency means that “decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media.” “According to surveys examined by Transparency International, Transparency is in the values in the governance style of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime minister of Singapore. He said that there must be “order under the law and not the capricious, arbitrariness of individual rulers.”  Although,he did not menetioned among his values public availability of important governmental informations. Today, “Singapore is perceived to have least corrupt public sector among Asian nations. Singapore ranked number 5 worldwide. Hong Kong and Japan joined Singapore as the only Asian states ranking among the top 25 nations. Asia's largest nations, China, India, and Indonesia, all scored in the bottom half of the 133 ranked nations.”
3.2. Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. “Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law.” It is worthy to note that Lee Kuan Yew did not specifically mention accountability as one of his seven values in governance. Although he said that a government must make sure that his people are well care d for, their food, housing, employment and health.
3.3. Participation by both men and women is a key cornerstone of good governance. “Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. It is important to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making. Participation needs to be informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand.” Traditionally, women played a significantly smaller role than their male counterparts in patriarchal Singapore. However, in recent years, there is an increasing level of female participation in the Singapore political arena. Lee Kuan Yew, in his governance values said that there should be no discrimination between people, regardless of race, language, and religion. “Singapore has consistently been rated as one of the least corrupt countries in the world .The World Bank's governance indicators have also rated Singapore highly on rule of law, control of corruption and government effectiveness. However, it is widely perceived that some aspects of the political process, civil liberties, and political and human rights are lacking.”
3.4. Rule of Law in good governance requires “fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities. Impartial enforcement of laws requires an independent judiciary and an impartial and incorruptible police force.” Since winning independence from Malaysia, Singapore embarked on a set of national policies that set Singapore on an upward economic progress, “including state investment in electronics and other export industries, the nationalization of major industries, the control by a housing development board of all rental property, tax holidays to welcome foreign investment, and the establishment of basic legal foundations for a free-market economy.” Rule of law is one of the governance values stated by Lee Kuan Yew
4.0. The Points of Reform Marikina Can Further Do be The Little Singapore in the Philippines?
Benchmarking is a tool used by the multinational corporations to copy the practices of their companies into their own operations for better result. Marikina should therefore benchmark on the direct pronouncement of Lee Kuan Yew himself. “ As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my value as for a government which is honest, effective, and efficient in protecting each people and allowing opportunities for all to advance themselves in a stable and orderly society, where they can live a good life and raise their children to do better than themselves. In other words: (a) People are well cared for, their food, housing, employment, and health.(b) There is order and justice under the rule of law and not the capricious, arbitrariness of individual rulers. There is no discrimination between peoples, regardless of race, language, religion. No great extremes of wealth.(c) As much personal freedom as possible but without infringing on the freedom of others.(d) Growth in the economy and progress in the society.(e) Good and ever improving education.(f) High moral standards of rulers and of the people.(g) Good physical infrastructure, facilities for recreation, music, culture, and the arts; spiritual and religious freedoms, and a full intellectual life.”
Marikina should also use the Figure A: Framework of Governance of Singapore.
In the meantime while Marikina is fine tuning its benchmarking effort on Singapore, it should continue doing the “Marikina Way”.
Specifically, in the case in point, in practical concerns, Marikina should do the following:
Findings: the staff in Marikina’s DSWD office is overloaded; there are staff members who have to work after 5 pm and during weekends. Recommendation: realignment of duties and work loads.
Findings: it was noted that CRC, MDGs and children’s welfare is not well advocated in the city hall and even among the Marikina City SWDO staff. Being a devolved function, SWDO is being viewed as an office that dispenses funeral and medical assistance basically. Recommendation: advocacy and information campaign about CRC, CWC, MDG and other children’s concern that the office are suppose to handle.
Findings: Marikina’s social welfare office is not yet on the level of studying these cultural differences since it is still saddled with organizational concerns. With the frequent changes in the Marikina City SWDO, the organizational capacity to respond to a new task like ECCD Accreditation is still weak. The OIC is new and her assistant is also new. Recommendation: team building sessions and thorough job orientation.
Findings: It was noted that out of 13 staff, some of them are not college graduates and joined the service as a political accommodations rather than based on qualifications. Only one of them is a license social worker, the assistant of the OIC. Recommendation: professionalize the staff, assign the less qualified somewhere else and hire more social workers into the unit.
Findings: the Marikina City SWDO lacks a staff that is well - versed in planning, data gathering, and doing reports. It was learned that there are several attempts as early as 2004 to work on the ECCD Accreditation but the office simply can not do it up to now. One challenge also is the volume and nature of data being asked (See Exhibit A). Recommendation: hire another assistant, probably another social worker, whose job is to handle planning, reporting, rules compliance, accreditations, project proposal writing, data gathering and safekeeping.
Findings: there is a perception that a job in the Marikina City SWDO is dirty and unfashionable and the staff members of the office are not that presentable. This perception can easily lead to being unable to get data and simple favors from other offices that look at themselves as more superior. Recommendation: professionalism; a high profile children’s welfare champion from the Marikina City Hall must be groomed. The present OIC, being a Consultant and a personal friend of the Mayor is a good material for this task. She just has to get familiar with theoretical base, other issues and concerns on children’s welfare and must be passionate enough in advocating them.
Findings: Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPC) are not well organized. Recommendation: assign two councilors, one per district, to help the Marikina Marikina City SWDO to organize and sustain the BCPC.
8. The Marikina City SWDO had been very busy. Some staff does overtime without pay. Some work on weekends…and yet; they seem to be not so focused on children’s welfare activities. At present, only the OIC is handling the ECCD concerns, and to think that she has other activities, being a close confidante of the Mayor and therefore could be doing other activities on the side, she might end up neglecting her duties on ECCD. Recommendation: assign the ECCD work to the new assistant that will be hired.
Findings: The current Mayor Marides Fernando, who is one of the major architects of “Marikina Way”, is now barred by law from running again as a Mayor. Bayani Fernando, the other architect is seeking a national office. Two dominant Kabayani Party (local party of the Fernandos) leaders are fighting for mayorship. The Fernando expressed preference to the current vice mayor over the other aspirant. But can the “Marikina Way’ be secured with any of them? Recommendation: Do a Lee Kuan Yew by letting Tala Fernando, the couple’s only child, to run for Mayor, the way Lee Kuan Yew made sure that his son became the Prime minister of Singapore. Tala is a US educated business executive running the BF Group of companies.
5.1. Issues and concerns. This paper has shown that Philippines and Singapore are different. Knowing this, can a city like Marikina sustain its benchmarking efforts with Singapore in the long term? What if a different brand of leadership emerged in Marikina? Can Singapore – benchmarked institutions and structures set by 18 years of Fernando leadership in Marikina sustain itself even with new leadership? Is 18 years long enough to cement a lasting behavioral change among Marikenos. These are the questions that even ordinary Marikenos are asking faced with an election next year where Mayor Marides Fernando is not anymore eligible to run, MMDA Chairman is running for President, Tala Fernando-the only child of the Fernandos- seem to be uninterested, Vice Mayor Marion Andres and Rep Del de Guzman (both Kabayani members) are unable to agree which one will give way, plus a popular third force led by Dr. Fabian Cadiz is snowballing.
“Marikina Way”, by itself, already shows features of good governance. It is however unclear if the Fernando’s got their programs from Singapore or from public administration books. Eclecticism is “Marikina Way” and it sure came from different theoretical and conceptual sources…the credit still goes to the Fernando’s for deciding which tactics are good from the laundry lists of public administration tactics they encountered. Is there a native intelligence on governance where a leader just uses common sense and public interest as his sole basis and eventually come out with a country or a city as good as Marikina and Singapore?
5.2. Areas for further research and investigation
Further researches can be done on the areas of praxis in public administration and good governance. A laundry list of authentic Singaporean public administration and good governance praxis, tactics and concepts can be further studied with more focus. Context can be correlated: can these. Singaporean touch be applicable in different context or situations, like say in Marikina, Kerala or even Russia? What are the generic Singaporean touches that can be applied to any generic developmental or governance situations and which of them can be applied only in Singapore? Can “Marikna Way” be packaged as another brand of public administration? If so, when will “Singaporean Touch” and “Marikina Way” work? What are the generic contexts? Then, learning becomes more useful.
6.0. Bibliography1. Raadschelders, Jos C.N. 2003. Government, a Public Administration Perspective, New York: M.E. Sharpe. Ch. 1, “Government: The Most Central Phenomenon of our Time, pp.3-31.2. Wilson, Woodrow, 1887. “The Study of Administration.” Political Science Quarterly, Vol.2 (June,1887), as reprinted in Jay M.Shafritz and Albert C. Hyde (eds.). 1997. Classics of Public Administration.(4th ed.). Forth worth, Texas:Harcourt Brace and Co., pp.14-263. The following articles and essays reprinted and abridged in Jay M. Shafritz and Albert C. Hyde (eds.). 1997. Classics of Public Administration. (4th ed.). Forth Worth, Texas: Hardcourt Brace and Co: Frank J. Goodnow.1900. “Politics and Administration” pp. 27-29; Frederick Taylor, 1912. “Scientific Management.” Pp.30-32; Max Weber, 1946. “Bureaucracy.” Pp.37-43; Leonard white.1926. “Introduction to the Study of Public Administration” pp.44-52; Luther Gulick.1937.”Notes on the Theory of Organization” pp.81-89; Herbert simon.1946.”The Proverbs of Administration” pp127-141.4. Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom.Anchor Books.New York5. Frederickson, George.1971.”Toward a New Public Administration” in Marini (ed.) Toward a New Public Administration: The Minnowbrook Perspective, Scranton: chandler.6. Osborne, David and Ted Gaebler, 1992. Reinventing Government, New York:Penguin. ”Introduction: an American Perestroika.” Pp.1-24 and Ch. 1, “Catalytic Government: Steering rather Than Rowing,” pp.25-48.7. Hammer, Michael and James Champy. 1993 Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. New York: Harper-Collins Publishers.8. Osborne, Stephen and Kate McLaughlin. 2002.”The New Public Management in Context.” In K. McLaughlin,S.Osborne and E. Ferlie (eds). New Public Management: Current Trends and Future Prospects. London and New York: Routledge, pp 7-14.9. Hunt, Diana, 1982. Economic Theories of Development: An Analysis of Competing Paradigms, Ch 1 & 2.10. Marikina Citizens Factbook, Second Edition, 2007.11. Marikina City: the Past 15 Years, Published by the Public information Office, City Government of Marikina12. Konstitusyon ng Partido ng Kabayani, as provide by the Office of the City Mayor of Marikina.13. Bagong Filipino Movement, as provided by the Office of the City Administrator of Marikina.14. Articles of Incorporation of Kabayani Movement, Inc. as provided by Securites and Exchange Commission.15. The Bagong Filipino Vision, a PowerPoint Presentation done by the Campaign Staff of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando.16. Marikina Citizens First Privilege Card Booklet, as provided by the Office of the City Mayor of Marikina.17. Disiplina sa Bangketa at Iba Pang Program ng MMDA by Bayani Fernando as provide by the Metro Manila Development Authority.18. Balitang Komunidad, Opisyal na Pahayagan ng Lungsod ng Marikina. Vol 2, No 2.19. Website of the City Government of Marikina at http://city.marikina.gov.ph/
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