Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How is Iloilo City Under Mabilog? (Part 3)

As promised, I am publishing here the summary findings of the BLGS- DILG on Iloilo City for 2010 and 2011.  I am also posting the url address of the said report for those interested to read it: http://www.blgs.gov.ph/lgpmsv2/cmshome/index.php?pageID=23&rpt_page=eslgpr&frmIdDcfCode=8&fLguType=CM&frmIdRegion=9&frmIdProvince=54&frmIdLgu=927.

State of Local Governance Report (2010 and 2011): Iloilo City
Performance Area
2010
2011
1. Administrative Governance

      a. Local Legislation
      b. Development Planning
      c. Revenue Generation
      d. Resource Allocation and Utilization
      e. Customer Service
      f. Human Resource Management/Development
High (4.77)

High (4.45)
High (4.91)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.5)
High (4.75)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.80)

High (4.78)
Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.0)
Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
2. Economic Governance
     
      a. Support to Agriculture
      b. Support to Fisheries
      c. Entrepreneurship, Business and Industry Promotion
High (4.07)

High (4.42)
High (4.01)
Fair (3.79)
High (4.85)

High (4.94)
High (4.85)
High (4.75)
3. Social Governance

a.        Support to Health
b.       Support to Education
c.        Support to Housing and Basic Utilities
d.       Peace and Order, Security & Disaster Management
High (4.87)

High (4.97)
Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.50)
Excellent (5.0)

Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
4. Valuing Fundamentals of Governance

      a. Participation
      b. Transparency
      c. Financial Accountability
High (4.93)

Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.80)
High (4.94)

Excellent (5.0)
Excellent (5.0)
High (4.83)
5. Environmental Governance

a.        Coastal Marine/Ecosystems Management
b.       Urban Ecosystems Management
High (4.46)

High (4.67)
High (4.25)
High (4.75)

Excellent (5.0)
High (4.5)

One of the first things I noticed after reading the BLGS-DILG report is that they changed the methodology of the study from an “outcomes-based” into a “process-oriented” report. The 2009 report I cited in my earlier column pieces measured LGU “project outcomes,” whereas the new report measures LGU compliance to DILG-sanctioned “processes.” This is because when the late Secretary Jesse Robredo assumed the DILG helm, he discovered that most LGUs did not even have the necessary processes or systems in place to achieve the desired positive “outcomes” in their localities. Thus, Robredo decided to “go back to the basics” and tried to introduce “processes” or “best practices” (based on his actual experiences as Naga City mayor) in order to equip LGUs with the tools they need to realize positive outcomes. Thus, aside from the changes in the BLGS report Jess also established awards such as the “Seal of Good Housekeeping” to encourage LGU compliance to his reform initiatives.  

As can be seen, Iloilo City passed the BLGS-DILG test with flying colors. In almost all the five Performance Areas the city government garnered “High” and “Excellent” ratings, except for the sub-category on “Entrepreneurship, Business and Industry Promotion” where it received only a “Fair” 3.97 grade in 2010 (but improved to a “High” 4.75 rating the following year). Iloilo City excelled particularly in the subjects of “Social Governance” and “Valuing Fundamentals of Governance.” The BLGS report explained that the city received high marks in “Social Governance” because all the basic systems for the delivery of health, education, socialized housing, peace and order and disaster risk management services are present in Iloilo City. BLGS likewise praised the Iloilo City government for its participatory, transparency and financial accountability measures, to wit: “Transparency in government operations is remarkable. Communicating to the public through various means i.e. bulletin boards, PIO, print and broadcast media, website and other forms is valued.”

But just to put things in their proper perspective, the reformatted BLGS-DILG report measures only the compliance of Iloilo City to the “processes” advocated by Robredo. It does not measure the “outcomes” of these “processes.” In other words, Iloilo City bagged the LGPMS award (Top 3 nationwide) and Seal of Good Housekeeping award (for two consecutive years) not because it has achieved positive “outcomes” but because it has satisfactorily complied with the various “processes” and systems designed by BLGS-DILG.

To use an analogy, Iloilo City is like a law student who topped the Bar exam or a medical student who placed in the Board exam or a college marketing major who is a Dean’s lister. Being a Bar topnotcher or an honor student is good, but in the real world a lawyer is measured by the number of cases he wins; the doctor by how good he treats his patients; the marketing professional  by the volume of goods he is able to sell in the market. The same also applies in local government: a policeman is measured by the number of cases he solves; a city health worker by the number of indigent patients served; the mayor by the positive impact of his leadership to the community.

If one excelled as a student, chances are that person will also succeed in life. But such is not always the case – there are also bright and promising students who later turn out to be major disappointments in life. With Iloilo City passing the BLGS test with flying colors, it stands to reason that City Hall has what it takes to bring about real positive results. City Hall for instance got an excellent rating in the area of “Transparency and Accountability.” Obviously, the end goal of transparency and accountability practices is to stop corruption in public transactions. So the next question is: did the “process” (e.g. posting of city budget on website, publishing bid notices, etc.) result to a “positive outcome” (i.e. zero corruption)? Likewise, the BLGS gave Iloilo City near-perfect scores for its adherence to health, housing and education “best-practices.” Did this result to a reduction in child malnutrition and adult mortality rates, a decline in the number of squatters, and a dramatic improvement in the literacy rate and NSAT performance of schoolchildren in Iloilo City?

The fact is, nobody knows. City Hall has yet to release the data.

Finding out the true state of Iloilo City under Mabilog is the main reason for this column. Nothing more. I did not use the 2010 and 2011 study in my earlier columns because the new BLGS-DILG format does not really provide the governance “outcomes” that I was seeking. I used the 2009 Report precisely because it is the only one that gives a factual portrait of the state of Iloilo City. To use another analogy, the 2009 BLGS Report is like a snapshot, a picture portrait of Iloilo City taken three years ago. The picture may be three years old, but I still consider it a valid photo of Iloilo City. This is because the face of a city, similar to that of a person, does not really change that much within a span of three years. Unless of course if that person (or city) underwent a radical cosmetic surgery.

I can only hope that Mayor Mabilog would allow his people to release the latest development statistics. If the answers turn out to be bad, then he has only himself to blame for failing to achieve results. But if the numbers are good, then it will certainly be a plus factor for his reelection campaign. If Mabilog continues to hide or fudge the numbers, then people will naturally suspect that he does not want them to see the true state of Iloilo City under his stewardship. Then Ilonggos will conclude that everything is just self-delusional propaganda.

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