“‘This project has the potential to be truly transformational for Mindanao and critical to poverty reduction in the Philippines.’“
by Ducky Paredes
The day after our President delivered his diatribe against the Supreme Court. which has always been sacrosanct in our country because of the held belief that even when the Supreme Court is wrong, it is still right, I heard on my car radio a program then happening in Malacanang – a “Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge” good governance conference of The World Bank Group gathered various members of civil society, the academe, media, international development organizations, and the private sector to discuss the progress and outlook of the Aquino administration’s governance initiatives.
Other participants in the Daylight Dialogue include representatives from international civil society groups, such as those based in Switzerland, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.
“International organizations have taken great interest in our good governance efforts and how we’ve been able to pull them off. The Daylight Dialogue is a wonderful venue for exchanging insights on how governments can be more transparent and accountable, and not just from the perspective of those working in the bureaucracy.
According to the government’s Official Gazette, the Daylight Dialogue shared how the government’s openness has created a paradigm shift in Philippine governance practices—a shift, from adversarial to a more constructive civil society engagement, to promote open government;Share the Philippines’ experience in initiating and implementing good governance reforms, overcoming challenges along the way; andFoster discussion on how key good governance reforms will be sustained and institutionalized.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced a US$119 million funding, which is part of a proposed new Philippine Rural Development Project promising support for farm-to-market roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, and potable water, including in the conflict affected areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Investments to generate at least 6,000 jobs in Mindanao, including the ARMM are also being proposed by IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm.
“Together with the IFC, the World Bank is scaling up support for rural development and job creation in the region, with the Bank providing financial assistance to critical public infrastructure and the IFC promoting private investment in agribusiness,” said Kim. “This project has the potential to be truly transformational for Mindanao and critical to poverty reduction in the Philippines.”
It was announced that Kim and the President met that morning at Malacañang Palace, where they discussed an additional $US 6.6 million in World Bank funding for the Mindanao Trust Fund. That funding helps support livelihoods for over 100,000 people and will support the creation of a development plan for the conflict affected areas.
“Good governance means delivering public services effectively and efficiently, while being transparent about what you spend and the results you achieve,” Kim said. “Good governance involves choosing wise policies and investments; maintaining public assets; and ensuring that civil servants are skilled, motivated, and have the tools to work effectively. It is about fostering a transparent regulatory environment that will allow the private sector to create growth and jobs.”
According to the United Nations, supporting good governance is an important component of the World Bank Group’s new Philippine’s Country Partnership Strategy, which supports the country’s goal of promoting sustainable growth, reducing poverty and creating jobs. Under this new four year strategy, the World Bank Group plans to provide US$3.2 billion in financing for development to the government and another $1 billion for investments in business and industry from IFC, its private sector arm.
I wondered why we had to listen to a diatribe against the SC which was badly received by all who heard it when there was good news that would come from Malacanang itself the very next day.
The fighting speech against the SC should not have been given. Instead, the Daylight Dialogue with the World Bank ought to have been given prominence. After all, isn’t the UN’s giving our President fulsome praise for his good governance answer enough for the Supreme Court’s criticism of the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)?
Because this came after the President’s speech against the SC’s condemnation of his DAP, the Malacanang event was generally ignored, although it was proof that the DAP was being used for the good of the country.
Too bad that instead of the “Daylight Dialogue” working for the government and the country, it was virtually ignored. while all of the President’s critics concentrated on his harsh words on the Supreme Court and its justices, many of whom were appointed by the President.
In WB President Jim Yong Kim’s speech. he said: “It is now well established within the academic literature on institutions and growth that there is a strong and positive correlation between the principles of good governance and a country’s GDP per capita. As you, President Aquino, have so eloquently noted, “good governance is good economics.” The precise causal relationships are less well understood, but some recent studies have begun to confirm what many of us have long suspected—that effective institutions (or their absence) have an important impact on economic growth. There is plenty of evidence that corruption can deter private investment. And studies at the sectoral level have documented the perverse effect that corruption and weak administration can exert on education and health outcomes, or on the quality and selection of infrastructure projects. Some recent studies from the United States underscore that high levels of corruption are associated with increased inequality, as well.”
The WB President continued: “Under your leadership, President Aquino, the Philippines is in the forefront of this transformation. You’ve doubled government budgets for social services and made performance-informed budgeting the norm. Citizens increasingly see your conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilya, as an instrument to realize their rights to education or health care.
“Your administration has also streamlined business regulations, bringing down the cost of doing business and reducing opportunities for corruption. Your Open Data initiative has reinforced accountability at all levels of government. For instance, the Philippines is now using electronic procurement technology to encourage citizens to be observers in all stages of the bidding process and, just recently, started the use of geo-tagging. Similar .tools are now being used to monitor assistance for people affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Your commitment to transparency is a beacon for the nations of East Asia, and beyond.”
To my mind, listening to the WB President would have been better than hearing our President berate the SC Justices for their decision calling the DAP unconstitutional.
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hvp 07.22.14Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.