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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Politics and Long-Term Development

Politics and Long-Term Development

An article published in the 22 November 2004 issue of N-News (by the NEDA's Development Information Staff)*, reports on a study conducted by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB), an attached agency of NEDA. This was presented to the press by Secretary General Romulo Virola in the 19 November 2004 press briefing at the NEDA sa Pasig.

It's good to note that officials who practice good governance are indeed rewarded with re-election (or election of a relative), as exemplified by the ten most-improved provinces. However, of the worst-performing provinces, 50% of the incumbents were still re-elected! Perhaps it can be argued that the Filipino people still has a long way to go in becoming a mature electorate. Then again, Philippine politicical system, itself, still has a long way to go in attaining maturity.

Our political system is still, after all, based on personalities, and not platforms. In contrast, it can be noted that the political system of the United States of America, which can be considered to be a more mature system, is based mostly on platforms. For instance, Republicans are considered to lean more to the right or to conservatism, and Democrats toward liberalism. The policy thrusts of US Administrations are also reflective of party preferences and policies, hence thrusts would depend on whether a Republican or Democrat sits in the White House, and also on who controls Congress. In contrast, here in the Philippines, policy thrusts are also based on personalities, especially given the patronage politics practiced even, or perhaps most especially, in the highest echelons of Government.

It would take quite a while for our nation to attain that level of maturity in our political system. And because of problems prevalent in our day-to-day lives, such as poverty, armed conflict, corruption, and crime, I think we are constrained to attend first to the more immediate concerns. However, in the long run, if we are to aim for sustainable development, we should think about reforming our political system. After all, the 2004-2010 Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP)**, the Administration's blueprint for economic development in the medium-term, states, particularly in Chapter 25 (Constitutional Reforms), that "the country’s seriously weakened economy, political instability and unabated corruption have continued to retard efforts to achieve progress ... The current party system offers no meaningful policy choices since political parties form around well known personalities and families, instead of well-defined programs of government. This has made popularity, and not intelligence, competence, or experience, the winning qualification for public office."

Charter change, anyone?

* I'm quoting the entire article, since N-News publishes fresh content every two weeks--7th and 22nd of the month--and does not archive old articles.

** The 2004-2010 MTPDP may be downloaded through these links: PDF or ZIP.

N! In and About NEDA: Good leaders get reelected, study says

Voters do elect again leaders that have governed them well-but not all the time.

A study with 2002 data by the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that Laguna, Batanes, Rizal, Benguet, Cavite, Bulacan, Bataan, South Cotabato, Batangas and Siquijor were the 10 best provinces according to a good governance index (GGI). Of their leaders, eight were either reelected, or ran and won for Congressman or a spouse won in 2004.

NSCB Secretary-General Romulo Virola presented this study, 'The Best and Worst Provinces in the Philippines: What Happened To Their Leaders in the 2004 Elections,' during a Nov. 19 press conference at the NEDA Board Room. His co-researchers were Severa de Costo, Joseph Addawe and Leonor Reyes.

Comparing performances in 2000 and 2002, the 10 most improved provinces were Aklan, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Bohol,, South Cotabato,, Negros Occidental, Leyte, Sorsogon and Northern Samar. All governors and/or their relatives of these provinces either ran for reelection or for Congressman and won.

However, eight of the leaders of the 10 worst provinces (Masbate, Sulu, Maguindanao, Romblon, Northern Samar, Surigao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon) still got reelected.

Meanwhile, of the 10 worst-performing provinces (Kalinga, Maguindanao, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Abra, Lanao del Norte, Sulu, Capiz, Albay and North Cotabato), five were reelected and five or their relatives lost. Worst performing means that their GGI deteriorated from 2000 to 2002.

Virola explained that the NSCB's GGI covered three types of governance: economic, political and administrative.

The improvement of internal and external security (crime solution efficiency rate) was the indicator used for political governance. Virola said that although they wanted tin include law enforcement and administration of justice, and elimination of graft and corruption as political governance indicators, there were no data available.

Economic governance indicators included sustainable management of resources (per capita financial resources, per capita revenue, per capita total deposits, per capita expenditure on social services, and unemployment and underemployment rates), and enhanced government responsiveness to the poor (poverty incidence and poverty gap).

Indicators for administrative governance included enhanced delivery of services (teacher-pupil ratio, number of public and private elementary schools per 1,000 population, total enrolment in government elementary schools per 1,000 population, health personnel per 10,000 population, live births less than 250 grams per 1,000 births, length of national and local roads per 1,000 population, and percentages of households with access to safe water, housing made of strong roofs, housing made of strong walls, and energized barangays) and expanded use of information technology.

Improved transparency and accountability, and continuous building of capacities were considered as part of administrative governance but there were no data available.
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