July 1, Mayor Ferdie Estrella marked his first year in office with a brand of leadership that is anchored all in the name of serbisyong may malasakit.
There were consistent expression of the values associated to cheerfulness (magiliw), dependable or reliable (maaasahan), prompt (maagap), excellence (mahusay) and partnerships or synergy (magkakatuwang).
In a year’s time, reforms on governance was bold and strategic with the strict implementation of the strategic performance management system. An organizational structure was put in place to set order and clarity of job descriptions. Employees were ordered to return from their posts and function based on organizational objectives. New but seasoned employees were recruited to fill-in the gaps in the structure.
Citizen’s Charter was made sure implemented by each office to streamline transactions, cutting unnecessary steps in the delivery of service. A booklet was even published to make sure the public is apprised of the mandated service. Billboards were installed at the entrance and Information Officers were assigned at the counters to guide and usher clients to the office or person they intend to visit.
Employees who finished Two-year programs were offered to take the newly crafted bridge program,
a program that will lead them to a bachelor’s degree, an opportunity that will enable them to take the Civil Service Commission Exam. Meanwhile, faced with the lack of a management succession planning, the Local Government Unit discussed a partnership with Baliuag University for a continuing program that will lead the participants to a Masters in Public Administration.
A year ago offices at the municipal government may have few physical computers but these were not networked therefore, use were not optimized as its utilization were mostly for facebook and encoding purposes. The first six months was not enough to develop the system for the business permits that long nailed itself to manual. Marred by demotivated employees with no Human resource development plan, and a structure antiquated by time and even rarity in its responsiveness to the present needs of governance.
The Municipal Information Technology and Commucations Office and BPLO were able to pull it thru online applications and Baliwagenyos for the first time experienced some semblance of e-governance.
Abiso, EO’s and .Gov.Ph
Employees were flooded with memorandum to inform them of schedule, transfers, guidelines and reminders. That was surprising for this bureaucracy because it was never practiced to to put into a document like guidelines or Internal rules and regulations (IRR). That was understandable when many years, employees were not really developed to lead. They were simply not empowered to make sound decisions to innovate.
Some read, some don’t but that never stopped the administration to keep on releasing correspondence, it even came out with barcodes. (Meralco Baliwag once received an invitation letter requesting them to join the monthly clean up. The letter came with a barcode. According to Meralco Baliwag Branch Manager, “That barcode alone is exhilirating, knowing that there will be more suprises, more innovation.
In his first year in office, there were more than 50 plus executive orders and about 10 administrative orders signed by Mayor Ferdie ranging from creations of bodies or councils to establishing protocols during disasters. During the SGLG validation, the head validator joked: “Are you still sleeping in Baliwag?”
Baliwag in the Internet Space
If you want to go global, go internet. Three years ago there was a http://www.baliwag.gov.ph that eventually perished. Mayor Ferdie knew it is the way to go hence, reopened the website with an offering of information, news and various data to claim the transparency seal. It was a breather to feel and see the overwhelming presence of the local government online. It was Baliwag’s first genuine effort to computerize. Things get exciting especially when services are available right at your fingertips.
(to be continued)