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Why Is Aquino Reluctant To Use Anti-Corruption Tools With Strategic Impact?

June 22, 2010

The conventional governance model relies on the separation of powers. The presidential model separates the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government while the parliamentary model combines the executive+legislative but still separates the judicial branch. On the extreme ends anarchy and totalitarianism sit diametrically opposite to each other. The Philippines currently uses the presidential model, although there is a growing demand to revisit the matter and perhaps make the switch to a parliamentary system.

The Traditional Way of Doing Business With the Philippine Government

The other dimension to this is the operational aspect which involves the further separation of executive functions into the different government agencies which are further decomposed into more minute operational units with jurisdiction over assigned regions, provinces, cities/municipalities, districts, and barangays.

Imagine that each of the officials and employees who are in each operational unit behaving as if the universe revolved around their operational units. It can be anywhere – the LGU business permitting office, the SEC registration office, the LTO licensing division, the DFA passporting division, the NBI clearance office, the POEA, the barangay hall, office of the governor/mayor/councilor, City Engineer’s Office, BIR. These people behave as if their offices were kingdoms and that these offices were created so that citizens can pay homage and worship the people who man these offices as demi-gods. They pay attention to you only if you fork out some grease money for the trouble of having to get your paperwork done faster.

In the Philippines, an investor has to go from one office to another, get a number, wait for their turn, pay the bill, get the clearance, then go to the next agency and repeat the process all over again. This process would take weeks and months even. So much so that this has created an industry of consultants ranging from the name brand Wall-street firms down to the common fixer. The system was so inefficient that investors just went on to do business without the necessary paperwork or at best, bribe everyone in the chain of contacts in order to speed up the process. This increased the costs of doing business with the government so much so that a lot of “small” people either don’t do business with the government anymore (“just evade taxes, they’ll collect when they really need it, just have a bribe ready when it happens”) or just accept that the “fixer” and the “grease money” are just part of the costs of doing business in the Philippines. Now imagine that happening in space (from Aparri to Jolo); time (decades, all year long, 24/7) – all the time.

Wow! I don’t think you can ascribe that kind of behavior to Gloria Arroyo. If anything at all, any Philippine President simply exemplifies the pinnacles that a crooked government employee can reach. You scratch my back, I scratch your back. I don’t blow the whistle, you don’t blow the whistle – imagine that happening in space (from Aparri to Jolo); time (decades, all year long, 24/7) – all the time.

Noynoy’s “Anti-Corruption” Measures – The Wrong Tool For the Job

Sure, Aquino and co. will catch the Top 10 crooks in the BIR. But for everyone one crook, there are probably 10 more crooks waiting for their turn. And that’s just the BIR – you have yet to include the other agencies which have sterling records in fiscal mismanagement and technical malversation.

That my friends is no longer a case of petty corruption – it is corruption that extends from the barangay all the way to the highest echelons of government power – in all branches of government – no exceptions. This is the current state of governance in the Philippines. It seems that governing the Philippines is like unraveling the proverbial Gordian knot, but it need not be.

New Paradigms – Smart Governance

I came across a blog on IBM that kept it simple. Governance was defined as “the activity of coordinating people to achieve collective goals through collaboration. You govern to effect changes in organizational behavior to achieve positive outcomes. ”

The statement is a departure from the functional separation (“silos”) of the branches of government – and ventures into the world of synchronized activities brought about by a degree of visibility and transparency of information and processes – a high level of process alignment.

The nature of todays government, like business enterprises, is changing. Government is increasingly becoming “boundaryless”, meaning that internal functional barriers are being eroded in favor of managing horizontal processes and the separation between functional departments is gradually lessening. This is the idea of extended governance – an application of the concept of the extended enterprise towards governance. An example is the opening of “one-stop shops” where an investor gets to talk and settle business with representatives of different agencies in just one location or just one point of contact.

Technology Is an Enabler of Shared Information

Underpinning the concept of extended governance is the use of a common information highway. This could have been achieved by the ZTE-NBN project. I don’t see why the project should be shelved, rather the project ought to be re-bid instead of shelved. Come to think of it, someone who saw the implications of a common information highway and would have been negatively affected by it – not just in terms of not getting the project itself – but the implications of greater visibility and transparency of information vis-a-vis reduced opportunities for graft will fiercely resist the implementation of such a program. It is ironic that a measure that would have reduced corruption was also affected by corruption. The technology itself is sound – the process was flawed. The solution then is to improve the bidding process instead of shelving the project.

It is the use of shared information and data that enables the use of cross-functional horizontal management approaches. More importantly, it is the transparency and visibility of information that allows internal and external customers, suppliers, vendors, policy-makers that makes for a responsive flow of services from the beginning to the end of the pipeline. This process is built upon a series of relationships that has in its core – the value-added exchange of information.

From Functional Silos to A Network of Partners

Indeed, partnership and more cooperation are more effective than the classic silo/snooty/fiefdom mentality. Thus trends are showing that the governance supply chain is becoming a confederation of entities, agencies, and organizations that agree on common goals and who bring specific strengths to the overall value creation and delivery process.

Recent research by the Centre for Integrated Marketing has shown that the typical scale of benefit for marketers who integrated their operations as a cross-functional activity experienced a 10 – 25 enhancement in business performance.

This gain is achieved due to a number of interrelated factors:

  • Improvements in customer attitudes and behaviors from more consistent experiences of brand value.
  • Synergy and multiplier effects on profitability from improvements in customer attitudes and behaviors.
  • More efficient (and effective) media choices and mixes, as well as better deployment of communication disciplines.
  • More flowing, efficient (and effective) business processes, creating higher added value.
  • Substantially enhanced evaluation and improved applied learning across the organization.
  • Improvements in staff morale, cohesion, stress and creativity.
  • Reduced employee replacement costs, employee cost/benefit synergies and an enhanced employee cost/customer value ratio.
  • Reduction in internal fragmentation and cost holes.
  • More cost effective use of agencies and business partners with better team results.
  • Cost-effective synergies.

These figures show the dividends from improving processes and investing in the right technology. These same effective and efficient approaches are already being adopted in the more progressive countries.

The thing is – whether the Philippines is ready for Government 2.0 or not – the rest of the world will march forward. If the Philippines does not step up, then it’s simple really – it will be left behind – content in its perceived national glories of the occasional flashes of talent of Charice Pempengco and Manny Pacquiao, the marital and extra-marital misadventures of Kris Aquino, the fashion sense of Noynoy Aquino, the ancientness of the Jeepney, and the tackiness of the Tarlac Hillbillies.

What if things were different?

What should we be aspiring for? I assert that we should make it our national mission to build a Smart Government.

The approach called Smart Governance Supply Chain – proposed in the IBM blog provides six easy step to govern smartly.

[iframe: src=”https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/adler/entry/six_easy_steps_to_smart_governance53?lang=en&follow=true” width=”100%” height=”800″ scrolling=”yes” frameborder=”1″]

Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata

The solutions, strategies, and methods are already available – it boils down to whether the Filipno people have the will, the balls, the brains, and the brawns to pull this off.

The alternative is quite too familiar – the same stagnant feudal economy. Worse, Walden Bello wants the Philippines to turn protectionist all the way. In an era where economies compete on the basis of the extended enterprise, this ensures that the Philippine economy will be the top producer of sampagita garlands, pastries and confectionaries like puto and bibingka – in a world where its neighbors produce cars, computers, nanotech, pharmaceuticals – oh yeah, and confectioneries, too. South Korea which used to be on even parity with the Philippines in the mid 80s, marches to OECD membership today, the Philippines is still dreaming about becoming a First World country 20 years from now. Walden Bello’s irresponsible ultra-protectionism and misguided emo nationalism will ensure that those 20 years get extended by another 20 years.

The ZTE/NBN and the FOIA are two pillars of an extended government that delivers value to its citizens – including reduction of corruption.

Thus far, forces allied with Noynoy Aquino’s have shut these strategic initiatives down. These could have been tools that would have had a strategic impact on reducing corruption, removing waste, building a lean government, and a responsive and resilient smart government supply chain. You can now, all kiss smart governance goodbye.

From: UtakngTilapia.com

Deeper into the Rabbit Hole

If you thought Gloria’s Arroyo’s Enchanted Kingdom was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Thus far, the previews of Aquino’s governance style can either be a “Mystery on Balete Drive”, “Marima”, “Analiza”, “Flordeluna”, “The Buzz”, “Wowowee” – courtesy of an electorate that lends credence to the axiom – “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. Now playing in Philippine TV screens and hugging Philippine news headlines –   introducing the Philippines and its Idiotic Governance Supply Chain model –  Noynoy Aquino’s Funny Farm is “in”.

Seriously, why Is Aquino reluctant to use anti-corruption tools with strategic impact? Is he really honest? Or is he Peping and Danding’s Manchurian Candidate?

From → Government, Solutions

15 Comments
  1. It takes a lot of courage to approach things from a different perspective particularly from the perspective described in the above article. Indeed, nothing that is worthwhile is NOT difficult, thus the cliche “no pain, no gain”.

    Business process design has come a long way from the “value chain” approach of mapping transactional flow from end-to-end. In today’s technology-enabled operating models, IT systems have allowed a greater degree of collaboration and parallel processing. Some of the new thinking now (though based on old information management concepts) involves service orientation.

    In service orientation, the design starting point is around defining quanta of services and then developing organisational units and their hierarchies around these. This is the same principle used in the IT “service-orientated architecture” approach applied to entire enterprise systems. The general principle of service orientation, in theory, aims to make systems (in the broader and not just IT sense) more results/goal-oriented and their nature freed from a hard association with their physical domains (i.e. business processes not defined by application/hardware domains and organisational units).

    Applied to the government bureacracy setting, much of the agencies and bureaucratic silos that exist have legacies whose histories that go back centuries. As such, processes are shoehorned into these structures and the personal turfs of the people who manage them rather than designed purely with the whole point of their existence in mind. End result: You end up with a convoluted system and propagation of the bureaucratic legacy into the foreseeable future.

    So in the example of a small entrepreneur wanting to start a business, designers of the bureacracy should have this person’s needs in mind — which are usually quite simple: e.g. he may need a front-end service to maintain contact with, a tax registration service to set up his tax account, a business entity registration service to set him up his enterprise as a state-recognised entity, etc. Defined in this way, these services can be bundled into product tiers each based on the size/capitalisation of the business to be opened. But, see, even if the size of the customer varies, the underlying services remain the same, they vary only in the values of the parameters with which they are applied.

    All theoretical, of course. But designers and the right consultants employed who start with this frame of mind can go a long way towards steering things in a different way…

  2. sayang ang Pinas… it could have been good… Marami kasi talaga uhaw sa kapangyarihan kaya ang magagandang proyekto binabahiran ng anomalya… tsk tsk tsk… poor GMA, she reaped the stench of those oligarchs and power hungry moguls have invested…

  3. Miriam Quiamco permalink

    I agree, what we need to solve corruption once and for all is to rationalize how government agencies go about performing their tasks. This has to start from the leadership of the president of course, as heads of ministries are usually his cabinet members. Everyone knows corruption is rooted in our inefficient bureaucracy which does not have a rational flow in their operational procedures. IT could really help us out on this, for example in Davao, at SSS, there are long queues of people waiting for their turn to be called only to get their pictures taken for an SSS card. People from as far away as the outlying provinces waste a day not to mention money on public transpo. just to get something very trivial done in a big city like Davao.

    We could use the Brazilian model of citizens’ streets where all government agencies have a satellite office on these streets, so people don’t need to travel faraway to get permits and the like. IT centralizes records and if we can make all operational procedures automated, we don’t need to have such inefficient government offices anymore. If Brazil could do it, sure, we can too. This is again a task media has been shirking away from, studying progressive policies of other countries that have worked to curb corruption to inform the people and the elites in our country of what options we can have to solve real problems of governance. To lessen crimes, in the slums in Brazil, the government has been experimenting with lighthouse type of facility, libraries and learning centers, computer centers and a lighthouse to monitor movement of criminals at night have been constructed. The rationale for this type of program in the slums is to empower the poor through skills acquisition and to keep the criminal elements wary of their movements.

    The ZTE/NBN deal could have helped us become IT- accessible country. We need to spread internet access to the countryside if we want the country to take full advantage of its potential. I was just reading an article of a relative of Rizal who introduced some business practice on the internet that our farmer-cooperatives could benefit from. However, in many of our barrios, there are even no basic public services like telephone, electricity, clean drinking water and internet service. I know that in our barrio in Davao, we lack these basic services, our house does have electricity because my family connected to a commercial establishment along the road, for other residents in the inner parts of the barrio, they don’t have electricity at all. And while the mayor flies in his helicopter to deliver “lugaw and ice cream, bags of two kilos of rice” to the poor, the barrio folks, don’t have telephone lines, clean source of water and electricity. Those who can afford to spend 250,000 pesos to have an electric water pump have ample supply of water. Most of the people spend most of their time hauling water from the springs which are fast drying up.

    What kind of a government system we have, the delivery of basic public services are left to the pork barrel budgets of politicians. In the case of our congressman, he has not prioritized the provision of water and electricity to all residents in our barrio. How could we benefit from all the opportunities IT could offer in this modern world. I heard in Thailand, every village has internet service and electricity. The government agencies should be tasked to deliver these basic services not the self-serving politicians. One way to curb corruption is for the executive to be strong, it could have been Teodoro, and make each cabinet member be accountable for the achievement of set goals. We need the rationalization of our bureaucracy, we need to attract bright people in government service just like in Japan. I can tell you with certainty, the Japanese bureaucracy is the key to its second economic power status in the world despite the fact, the size of this country is only 2/3 that of California!

  4. ArticleRequest permalink

    Even if Noynoy doesn’t get Boy Abunda, Jim Paredes, Dingdong Dantes, Ogie Alcasid, etc. into government that really underscores what a weak leader he is. Sure nothing against celebrities but these guys spend more time in front of a camera than moving big fat organizations right?

    Commision on Audit needs a big fat computer to store all its info and needs to upgrade.

  5. Hyden Toro permalink

    “You ai’nt seen nothing yet”, sang a Broadway Show in New York, some years ago. The imbecile, Noynoy Aquino is just new on the job.. And, he is showing that he is really a hollow head, packaged by the Lopez gruop Media Network. His strategists in the campaign dangled to us the virtues of EDSA. Which has nothing to do with solving our present country’s problems. Corruption in our country is like the “seven headed monster”. You cut one head. Two more heads will grow. It’s a frustrating task to fight it. Yet, it needed to be minimized.

    Paradigms for good governance that you presented are too complicated for Noynoy Aquino to understand. Make it simpler. Maybe, it will resonate in his cerebral cortex. Consequently, the people makes the government succeed. Lead by its able leaders. If the leaders are not able. No matter what kind of government you put up. There is no way to succeed. Japan was successful. Because of its people, and its able leaders. Same as those in other progressive countries.

    Noynboy Aquino is like Vice President Dan Quayle. The Vice President of George Bush Sr. Dan Quayle talked nonsense. He did not even know how to spell “potato”.

  6. ulong pare permalink

    … daaaang

    … flipland will stay “AS IS” for generations to come…

    … outnumbered 10K to 1, flip gung gongs/squats will continue to drive the wheels of democ-erratic flipland…

    … flip gung gongs/squats multiply ten folds, outpacing the pipol to could deliver them from hell…

    … the arguments about corruption, oligarchs, etchastera,etc are senseless, inutil…

    … and believe it or not… i like it…😈

    … in my household, everthing is voice activated… i.e. “rosario, kuha mo ako ng kape… inggo, take/drive me to the spa/resto… charlene, i’m thirsty… sexy gurl, am ‘orny… etchastera, etc…”

    … every time i open my mouth, my voice does wonders… no need to lift a finger…:mrgreen:

    … HAY SARAP NG BUHAY…..

  7. I have not seen yet any concrete action plan the incoming admin is pushing for to combat corruption, except the general statement that they will persecute the PGMA corrupt officials, including PGMA herself. Perhaps they just used the platform to win the elections?

    BongV, your articles always are good references for those looking for solutions to problems in our country. I just hope they reach those who actually have the capability to act on them!

  8. He seems to have been spending huge amount of time getting the right cabinet member for each dept. It may a bit longer how he gonna address his promise of eradicating corruption.

    For the meantime, I’m all too excited about my contacts in some cities and do a cross check after few weeks or months Noynoy seat in power.

    I’ll ask them this simple question:

    “Nanghihingi pa ba ng 1 peso bawat official receipt stub yong govt employee?”

    If the answer is no, then noynoy rethorics is just all for show.

  9. I meant “if the answer is yes” above.

  10. What is this I’m reading “Binay won’t join Noy government”. Hibdi pa nagsisimula ang Noynoy administration meron mg mga alitan kaagad sa gobyerno.

    Philstar.com – Thursday, June 24
    MANILA, Philippines – Vice president-elect Jejomar Binay will no longer be part of the government of incoming president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, since he turned down all the positions offered to him.
    Binay met with Aquino at his home on Times Street in Quezon City at around 1 p.m. yesterday despite having relayed his decision to Aquino Monday night.
    “I offered him several posts that he declined. I asked him to think about it,” Aquino said in a text message.
    He refused to disclose what positions he offered to Binay.The vice president-elect also refused to discuss details of the two-hour meeting, saying only that it was “cordial.”
    “We are friends and it was a social and cordial meeting, not much formality,” Binay said.
    Binay, who ran under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the United Opposition, defeated Aquino’s running mate Sen. Manuel Roxas II.
    Aquino said he did not offer Binay the interior and local government portfolio, which Binay had sought because of his 20-year experience as mayor of Makati City.There are speculations that Aquino is considering outgoing Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo for the position.
    Aquino also denied rumors that he offered Binay the transportation and communications portfolio. Binay said he did not want to head any department that he does not have expertise in. In a statement issued after the meeting, Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said Binay assured Aquino of his support.
    “The vice president-elect assured president-elect Noynoy of his friendship and support and readiness to extend any assistance, whatever is needed,” Salgado said.
    Binay was the first to be appointed by Aquino’s mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino, as officer-in-charge of the then municipality of Makati after the first people power revolt in 1986.
    De Lima would be an asset to government
    Election lawyers yesterday praised the appointment of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Leila de Lima as Justice secretary. “She is the right person for the job. She has the quality of a good secretary of justice,” said election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. Macalintal said De Lima could initiate reforms in the prosecution of election-related cases.
    De Lima accepted Aquino’s offer to join his Cabinet last Tuesday. Macalintal said De Lima possesses the “track record, integrity, competence and probity” needed for the position. Aquino’s lawyer, Sixto Brillantes, said De Lima’s appointment is “one of the best appointments” Aquino could make. “Attorney De Lima is incorruptible. She cannot be influenced so she is the best person for the job,” he said.
    Brillantes said former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, himself in the shortlist for the position, could have recommended De Lima to Aquino. Before being appointed by President Arroyo as CHR chair in 2008, De Lima was an election lawyer for Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Alan Cayetano during the 2007 midterm polls.
    Malacañang, meanwhile, is optimistic that De Lima would be fair should she pursue cases against Mrs. Arroyo.
    Aquino has promised to go after the outgoing President and members of the First Family on allegations of corruption and human rights violations. “If that’s true, I don’t want to speculate, if it’s really the DOJ (Department of Justice) that will undertake any investigation, I think that’s good because at least there would be no politics,” said Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza.
    “The DOJ would be a very professional institution and it’s going to be ruled by events. I don’t want to speculate.”
    De Lima has a fixed term of seven years as CHR chair but said she would resign from the commission, after having accepted the appointment.
    Retired general to be defense chief
    The former Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander of the previous Aquino administration is expected to be appointed as Defense secretary, defense sources said.
    But retired Army general Voltaire Gazmin supposedly wants fellow retired Army general Leo Alviz to be installed as defense chief because he wants to be Aquino’s National Security Adviser (NSA).
    “While there is no official announcement yet, his (Gazmin) name is now all over the place here at the department as the incoming secretary,” a defense insider said.
    Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales himself said that with Gazmin at the helm, the defense department and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be in good hands.
    Gonzales said Gazmin is very popular among the rank and file of the Armed Forces.
    “If you served in the PSG, your connections in the Armed Forces are really deep,” Gonzales said. “From my knowledge of him (Gazmin), he is highly qualified and will be a good Defense secretary.”
    Gonzales promised to support Gazmin should he be installed as the next defense chief.
    “If I am called to help him, I am willing to cooperate and give him advice,” he said. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Sheila Crisostomo, Paolo Romero, Jaime Laude – By Aurea Calica (Philstar News Service, http://www.philstar.com)

  11. Binay promised if elected “gaganda ang buhay”. He is caught lying this early. How he gonna improve the lives of people he’s not willing to serve as cabinet secretary?

  12. Strategic planning for PNoy? That is too much stress:mrgreen:

    His economic advisers face the challenges and I hope someone will push for the broadband project. Imagine business registrations and transactions online (here we can get rid of corrupt and inefficient government employees), paying bills and taxes without queues, shopping and having your groceries/goods/laundry delivered through some clicks, etc. – that would be awesome!😀

  13. palebluedot permalink

    This article reminds me of the unsuccessful EO No. 366 of PGMA. Quite radical, but brilliant. I wonder if N/A will reconsider it to pursue his fight to eradicate corruption. But, I doubt😆

  14. jcarlos permalink

    Nakakalungkot lang na ang una sa listahan ni Pnoy ay ang Truth Commission!!! Hindi pa nga nakakabawi ang Pilipinas sa gulong ginawa ng Tatay at Nanay nya, heto na naman tayo. Mr. Future President ano bang UNITY ang pinagsasabi mo… eh ikaw itong nangunguna sa pakikipag-away eh? Gagamitin mo pa ang pera ng bayan sa mga imbestigasyon mo. Tama na yung ginawang gulo ng mga magulang mo. Meron naman tayong Dept. of Justice. Binabayaran na sila ng gobyerno eh bakit magtatayo ka pa ng hiwalay na commission? Kurakutan lang yan ng pera ng bayan eh! Biro mo ilang tao na naman ang ilalagay mo dyan? Ilan pa ba yang mga naninilaw mong kampon at kamag-anak ang hindi pa nailuluklok sa pwesto? Ano ba ang napala ng bayan sa PCGG ng Nanay mo? Ang maiparada sa buong mundo yong mga sapatos at gowns ni First Lady Imelda? Ang pag-interesan ng kamag-anak mo ang ibang mga alahas ni First Lady? Magkano na ang nagagastos ng gobyerno sa sweldo ng mga PCGG employees mula noong 1986 hanggang ngayon? UNITY KA NG UNITY EH, UNAHIN MO MUNA YUNG MGA KAMPON MONG NAGLALABO-LABO NA!!!

  15. if you have a strong FOIA, it will complement any task force the government can come up with because citizens will dig up the information themselves.

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