Roadblocks to good governance cited in ethics and accountability forum

Fiscal weakness, loss of public trust and lack of popular support are the three major threats to the civil service that hamper good governance.

This was highlighted by former Health Undersecretary Dr. Mario M. Taguiwalo during the Consultation Workshop on Ethics and Accountability in Government conducted recently by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) at the PNP Multi-Purpose Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Dr. Taguiwalo, a much sought after consultant on various developmental concerns and chairman of the Committee to Energize the Bureaucracy under the administration of then President Corazon Aquino, led a select group of 40 government executives from different agencies in discussing the prevailing issues on ethics and accountability in government.

During the event, Dr. Taguiwalo said that these threats to the civil service can be addressed if the current generation of Filipinos tails the path of ethics and accountability, or “daang matuwid”.

“Regardless of what has happened in the past and what continues to happen now, Filipinos from different sectors of society can do something to strengthen ethical accountability in the civil service,” he stressed.

He added that Filipinos themselves are the first beneficiaries of an ethically accountable civil service and are also the first victims of failure, breakdown and weakening of ethical responsibilities. “Therefore, Filipinos have a prime interest in an ethically accountable civil service.”

Also during the consultation workshop, issues on appointment system, performance evaluation and disciplinary process surfaced as the top three areas related to ethics and accountability that must to be addressed to improve good governance in the country.

On the appointments system, the participants pointed out that the practice of issuing appointments based on palakasan and political debt has compromised the value of merit and fitness. They said that most of these appointments are made at high rung positions and, thus, are critical to managing the delivery of public services.

A performance evaluation system that would more accurately and objectively reflect the level of individual and organizational performance was also identified as a tool in improving ethics and accountability in government.

They also pressed the need for political will in dealing with erring public officials and employees. Due process must be streamlined to ensure fair and expeditious handling of administrative cases.

Other issues on ethics and accountability raised during the consultation workshop were on inadequate benefits and compensation and the use of technology and systems to increase efficiency.

The said activity was the first of three consultation workshops to be conducted among different sectors – the public sector, academe, youth, NGO/CSO, military, business, media, the religious, and international development community – to gather inputs for crafting the national agenda on ethics and accountability in government.

The inputs gathered from the consultation workshops will be presented in the Leaders’ Forum on Ethics and Accountability in Government to be held by the CSC on November 16. In the said forum, government leaders will formulate an Agenda on Ethics and Accountability in Government to be presented to His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III for his approval and issuance of an executive order. The President’s approval will be sought to generate the necessary impetus to drive the programs and projects of government under the said Agenda.

According to CSC, the conduct of said activities tackling ethics and accountability in government is in response to the President’s call for good governance and campaign against graft and corruption. It is also aligned with the new five-year CSC Road Map for Development Reforms which, among others, focuses on character and integrity building among state workers.

Posted: October 6, 2010

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