Marching Orders

June 28 2010

Memo: To All Cabinet /Dept. Heads
From: The President

On July 1 we undertake  a 6 year journey to transform this country. As your leader this is what I expect of you and what you can expect of me.

On May 10 I was elected with the largest mandate in our history and this mandate is for change. The nation is not looking at us for business as usual or even incremental improvements. The people want bold initiatives and quantum steps. Our task is to deliver on these high hopes.

Inertia is the default setting for government. Entrenched interests, the bureaucracy, thrive on the status quo. To break this mold, to go from stop to start will require from us a surge in effort.

In aviation it is called getting past our stall speed, the speed below which a plane in take-off will crash.

To surpass our stall speed we have to move big, we have to move fast and we have to keep going. We will be criticized and we will be obstructed but we must stay united and stay true. Once in free flight it is our detractors who will be eating our dust.

At the outset we will have a tail wind of public support and some political capital. But that is short-lived. So the time for high-fiving is over. Let us get to work.

The first order of business is to change our mindset. We need to go back to basics. We need to govern smart, make more out of less, allocate our resources more intelligently. We need to be daring.

To set our direction I will be setting up in NEDA a Strategic Planning  and Development Group. This unit will undertake a total review of where we are and where we need to go.

To start I want an inventory of all unfinished business in your departments; together with a timetable to unclog the system.

Organizationally I want a smaller and more effective Government.  I want a flatter hierarchy and more responsive management. Please submit your staffing plans in the next 90 days. Until then there will be a moratorium on hiring except for key positions.

I do not expect you to reinvent the wheel: Prepare a list of best practices from the private sector and other governments for delivery of services, livelihood, education, the environment and anti-corruption modes; and adopt where practicable.

Decentralize your offices. Choose the best, empower them and hold them responsible for results.

To govern smarter work with technology. I shall be appointing a Chief Technology Officer to help you.

I want a prouder Government. I want to restore Civil Service as a noble endeavor, a career new graduates will aspire to, a profession current officials can take pride in. An executive development program will be instituted.

Let us now talk expectations.

I shall hold you accountable for the performance of your units. My measurements shall be both quantitative – revenues collected, exports, roads built, etc.- and qualitative. There are standards- better education, cleanliness of air and water, quality and timeliness of service- that are not measurable yet are important to Filipinos’ daily living. I will be encouraging peoples’ watchdogs to report back to me on these qualitatives.

As you go about your work ask yourselves: How am I making a difference to the Filipino?  The people are not interested in what we say, they are only interested in what we do and how we do it. This is the barometer by which they will judge me and the measure by which I will judge you.

You are encouraged to take risks that are studied and well intentioned. You may fail and I will accept this as the price for initiative. Just do not make too many mistakes for my political capital and people’s patience is limited.

We are accountable every time we fail. At times this may call for heads to roll. When that happens I expect you to offer to resign as atonement.

For my part I shall protect your political back. My load is already heavy so you should absorb as much of the pressure as you can. I will handle the rest.

You have absolute authority to hire and fire. I shall not foist any appointees on you. Report back if any politician tells you otherwise.

So that is it. Work hard, work smart, work honest. Keep it simple, if possible keep it fun. You have one client, you have one mission, that is the Filipino people.

You may not be acknowledged, you will not be financially rewarded to any degree commensurate with your effort (at least I trust not). But you will have performed a valuable service to the nation. For this I thank you in advance.

May God bless you all.


About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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4 Responses to Marching Orders

  1. Genius. My children and I do hope, as we love out country, still.

  2. Ging says:

    Leo, you should be one of P-Noy’s advisers. I look forward to your postings. Keep ’em coming. Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Crissie says:

    Hi Leo!
    I like your insights; keep going at it!

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