College Recognition Rites themed Reforming and Renewing the Civil Service: An Imperative for Good Governance and Responsive Public Administration

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1 Recognition Rites Speech Chairman Francisco Duque lll, M.D., MsC. Civil Service Commission UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL COLLEGE OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE College Recognition Rites themed Reforming and Renewing the Civil Service: An Imperative for Good Governance and Responsive Public Administration FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III, MD, MSc CHAIRMAN, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION 23 April 2010/4:00 p.m./governance Dome/ UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat. Isang mainit na pagbati sa lahat ng nagsipagtapos sa Pambansang Dalubhasaan ng Administrasyong Pangmadla at Pamamahala ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Nagagalak akong makapiling kayo sa araw na ito upang ipagdiwang ang inyong tagumpay bilang mga iskolar ng bayan, lalo pa t kayo ang mga nagpakadalubhasa sa pamamalakad ng isang mahusay na pamahalaan at paglilingkod sa bayan. Perhaps some of you have chosen to study Public Administration because you want to pursue a career in public service. If that is the case, I salute you for choosing a road which is not less traveled but is at most times less chosen. Public service is not the most glamorous or lucrative career in the world. As young, ambitious and idealistic as you are at this time in your life, you could have gone off and chosen something much more mainstream and financially rewarding business administration, perhaps, or nursing, or law. However, you chose public administration, and the value of that choice we must reckon with today. An academic institution such as this is a valuable tool in molding future public servants. As students, you have the advantage of learning the history of our country s government from an academic perspective, and analyzing our present and future through postcolonial discourse. You have the privilege of being mentored by the best professors in the field of public administration. You have been given four years to imbibe yourself with both theory and practice, and to strike a balance between the two as you perform your on-the-job trainings and write your theses. You are indeed an advantaged group because you have been been given the time and venue for rigorous preparation and study to equip you in entering public administration. I hope that when you finally make that decision and enter into the office of your choice, you will be able to maximize your full potential despite challenges, conflicts and uncertainties. In the real world, corrupt practices, hostile working environments, and threatening situations exist. They are not merely cases in books anymore, but real life situations which you will inevitably face. These are the moments where your integrity, principles and ideals will be challenged, and it is crucial for you to have that foundation from which you could draw your strength. Over the years, the CSC has valued the privilege of working with NCPAG students during various on-the-job-training or OJT programs throughout the year. Who among you here has chosen the CSC as their training ground. Well, I could say of those who did that they have displayed resilience and initiative in the workplace. This foretells

2 their potential should they continue in government service. I am glad that even now, they are taking seriously the daily office work which the CSC renders. They are also being exposed to frontline services at our Mamamayan Muna Action Center, and they were given the perspective of being service providers, instead of clients. They have also been involved in various policy, program and activity-driven projects concerning CSC examinations, gender and development or GAD, personnel concerns, human resource management, the Honor Awards Program, and more. I hope that these experiences with the CSC, however brief and minor, have given them a satisfying practice on public administration. I also hope that this has served as a start for you to see the bigger picture of good governance. The history of the Philippine civil service cannot be separated from the history of the Philippines as a nation. They go hand in hand. As a colony, and an annexed country of the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Paris, an American-patterned civil service was installed. This served the goal of promoting professionalism and meritocracy, principles which are almost alien to a culture struggling with the vestiges of Spanish colonial influences. For the first time, the Philippine government functioned under such principles, while trying to get rid of the old ones. After Martial Law, and during the recovery years of the Aquino administration, many civil service laws were also enacted. Former CSC Chairperson Corazon Alma G. de Leon in her paper Reforms in the Civil Service: The Philippine Experience identified the three cardinal documents in civil service reforms during these times. First was the Integrated Reorganization Plan or IRP which separated the career employees from the non-career employees. Second was the 1973 Philippine Constitution which, as you all know, transformed the Civil Service Bureau into the Civil Service Commission, making it a constitutional body. Third was Presidential Decree No. 807 which enshrined the CSC as the government s central personnel agency. 1 After the 1866 People Power, another reorganization process took place. With the passing of the Administrative Code of 1987, the mandate of the CSC became the promotion of morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness and courtesy in the civil service. Aside from these historical bookmarks, various changes are also occurring in the CSC at present. In every term of a CSC Chairperson, various policies are repealed, amended or created, according to one s priorities and expertise. So you see, the Philippine civil service is already a history of reforms. Why, then, do you think that your theme is about reforming and renewing the civil service? And why is it an imperative process in the building of good governance and responsive civil service? When can we say that we have already reformed and renewed the civil service, when we have already been doing so for so many times in the past and even now? Is there really a need for such changes? And most importantly, are we capable to implement such changes? As NCPAG graduates, you actually have the greater role in ensuring that true and lasting change will come. But how? Before we answer that question, let me share with you some current reforms being done by the CSC and the government. 1 De Leon, Corazon Alma G. Reforms in the Civil Service: The Philippine Experience. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from page 2.

3 The CSC today is geared towards linking public service with nationhood. This stems from its Mamamayan Muna program, something which we have been doing since the 90s. In Mamamayan Muna or Citizen s First, we enshrine the citizen as the ultimate priority in frontline services. However, there is a need to look at the bigger picture, to not just focus on locating the individual in the realm of civil service, but also to locate the nation. I think one problem is that we only look at our civil service as a system, something technical which has been installed here for colonial reasons, and which is still functioning as something which has been adapted. It is time to make the civil service our own. To do so, we must link public service with nationhood, with the idea of building and developing the nation, while promoting nationalism. This way, public service will not only be for the tao or the person, it will also be for the bayan or the nation Para sa taumbayan. Para sa taumbayan erases the traditions of selfish and archipelagic thinking. Instead, it promotes unity, teamwork, and oneness. It supports the strengthening of the identity, esteem and future of the Philippine nation. Who can be more adept in the concept of nation and nationhood than our students who study in state universities and colleges, especially in the University of the Philippines? You are head and shoulder above the rest of our young people today because you have been immersed in the historical and socio-cultural context of the Philippines as a developing nation. You understand the value of nation and nationhood, and how it will bridge the gap between the service providers and the served, the policy and the implementation, the theory and the application, history and future. Simultaneous with this new way of thinking are various laws and policies geared towards making the CSC s influence and authority stronger than ever. First, we have Republic Act No or the Anti-Red Tape Act. ARTA, as we call it, aims to cut red tape and eliminate fixing as a means to kill corruption at its roots in various frontline services all over the country. Last year, the CSC has aggressively pursued information drives and orientation rounds to provide technical assistance to agencies who are in the process of complying with the requirements of the law. Thousands of agencies have abided by the provisions of ARTA and we hope that the public has felt the transformation in each Citizen s Charter and Public Assistance and Complaints Desk they have encountered. Aside from compliance to ARTA, government institutions have been moving and working together in the quest to stem corruption. In 2009, the CSC, the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and the Commission on Audit (COA) formed the Constitutional Integrity Group (CIG). As constitutional bodies mandated to ensure the highest standards of ethics, efficiency and excellence in public service, the CIG commits to ensure swift implementation of measures to fight graft and corruption, use the full force of the law upon erring public officials and employees, step up deterrence and preventive effects of anti-corruption measures in the bureaucracy, institute reforms toward improved public service delivery, and conduct information dissemination on such programs and activities. Among the priority programs identified are the monitoring and initiating of cases arising from unliquidated cash advances, speedy investigation and resolution of high-profile graft cases, review and monitoring of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth or what we call the SALN, continuous implementation of and monitoring of compliance to ARTA, as well as vetting of presidential appointees. The CSC has also been implementing the Gender and Development program, and is working on gender mainstreaming throughout the bureaucracy. I hope you are familiar with the Magna Carta of Women, which has already been passed, although we are waiting for its implementing rules and regulations to be signed. Why is gender and

4 development or GAD important for the CSC and governance in general? The Magna Carta of Women or MCW has provisions relevant to the civil service, particularly the gender balance in the third level, equal employment opportunities for men and women in the military, and special leave benefits. Section 11 seeks to accelerate the participation and representation of women in the decision-making and policy-making processes in government. Section 18 provides special leave privileges to women state workers. This is surely a huge reform area, something that has not been given such legal backing in the history of our country. I hope the women in this audience realize how fortunate they are to be embarking on a government career which seeks to empower and ensure their safety from gender-based bias, harassment or violence. We are not anymore that steeped in tradition where men are in control in policy-making and management. We are on the brink of achieving gender equity and enlightenment, which would again translate to a professional and motivated government work force. Lastly, the CSC is bent on crafting and finalizing the Integrated Human Resource Management Program, the blueprint for career and personnel development of state employees. The IHRMP provides the framework for government agencies to rationalize training programs designed not only to equip among state workers needed skills and competencies but also instill proper work values. The Commission will also embark on a study to support its key role in creating an enabling environment for strengthening the integrity of the civil service. Through this study, we hope to come up with a set of integrity indicators in key areas of human resource management across the civil service. We are focusing on the two strategic entry points of human resource management recruitment and retention. Those of you who will be entering government service will experience taking the Civil Service Professional Examinations. Throughout your career, you will be guided by human resource management principles. Or, if you will be working in the area of human resource management, implement rules and regulations yourself. This is the heartbeat of the civil service implementing merit and fitness, rewards and recognition, promotion or discipline among the 1.3 million government employees nationwide. For you to be part of that intricate system, to be right there in the friction areas of human resource management, is something noble indeed. Why am I telling to you all of these? Because these are things I would like you to be familiar with as early as now. These will eventually be the best handles you could use to continue reforms in the bureaucracy when it is already your turn to do so. We are all tired of the different cultures we have inherited and unfortunately adapted as an emergent nation. Two of the most prolific professors and writers in public administration, Amelia P. Varela and Dr. Jose Endriga, have effectively identified such cultures: a culture of patronage, a culture of bureaucratic mediocrity, a system of rewards and punishments which inhibits instead of promotes a culture of excellence, a culture of bureaucratic ambiguity characterized by conflicting or confusing laws and policies, a culture of accommodation or pakikisama, a culture of dualism which draws the line between the elite and the poor, and a culture of graft and corruption. 2 When you think about it, we have been wallowing in cultures that are not originally our own. We could 2 Varela, Amelia. The Culture Perspective in Organization Theory: Relevance to Philippine Public Administration, in Introduction to Public Administration in the Philippines: A Reader, QC: UP CPA and Endriga, Jose. Historical Notes on Graft and Corruption in the Philippines, Philippine Journal of Public Administration. Vol. 23, Nos. 3-4, July-October 1979, pp

5 have easily cut these off, but they have crept their way into our consciousness, and we have been fuelling them by frequent practice. To effectively phase out such cultures, and to discover the new Filipino culture, is a task not one single CSC Chairperson can ever achieve. This is something which must be practiced by everyone on a decidedly daily basis. That is why the CSC has been engaging different stakeholders and sectors as watchdogs versus graft and corruption, carrying the message that while largely so, the government is not solely accountable to such issues. All sectors have a valuable role to play in the arena of curbing corruption and red tape, and we are all accountable to the Filipino people. The youth is one of those sectors. As the future leaders of this country, you are, more than any other sector, the rightful heirs to the fight against corruption, the people who will, through definitive measures and strategies, continue the legacy of true and lasting civil service reforms. So you see, dear graduates, you may have chosen public administration as your academic path, but public administration has chosen you to build the future of this country. I hope that as you go out of the four walls of your classrooms and the boundaries of this university, you will not forget your role as a Filipino scholar, who not only predicts or identifies what would be good for the country, but essentially works and even sacrifices to make such a reality. Once again, congratulations to each and every one of you. I hope to see most, if not all of you, working for the full transformation of Philippine government. Mabuhay ang mga nagsipagtapos, na sila rin namang magiging simula ng panibagong serbisyo publiko. Maraming salamat.

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