Words of wisdom from seasoned bureaucrats and advocates of good governance poured in during the 1st International Conference on Governance and Development (ICGD) of the College of Public Affairs and Development.
ICGD, with its theme “Engendering innovations in governance towards development,” featured local and international breakthroughs and experiences in effective governance on Nov. 20-21 at Acacia Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Keynote speaker Rafael Alunan III presented ‘key points to ponder’ in good governance based on his experience as Secretary of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos.
“We must unite on one common purpose to build a better nation; be bound together by national values; work together as government and society; share time and talent; reform attitudes and behavior; and value institutional performance,” he said.
Alunan mentioned other areas to help the Philippines boost its development.
“Forge national unity, practice professionalism and integrity in public service, reform the criminal justice system, and strengthen the Armed Forces in the Philippines,” he said.
“We also need to create wealth to reduce poverty through sustainable tourism development, agro-industry development, hi-tech industries, and renewable energy. We have to modernize our infrastructure and focus on social development,” he further said.
The use of modern technology in governance served as the centerpiece of one of ICGD’s plenary speakers.
Dr. Yudo Anggoro, deputy director of Jakarta Campus, School of Business and Management of Bandung Institute of Technology, shared to the audience how his country, Indonesia, implemented the Smart City Program, one that used information technology such as the mobile application ‘Qlue’ to provide a platform for residents to voice their concerns.
Dr. Anggoro headlined one of the four sub-themes of the Conference called “Innovation systems and development.”
Two other plenary speakers, for their part, focused on community empowerment as part of good governance.
Regina Lopez, founder of Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (ILove) Foundation and former Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, talked about area development (AD) as a strategy to help communities develop sources of income and promote sustainable economic growth in the country.
“AD is investing in the strength and potential of an area for the people living there,” she explained as she headlined the sub-theme “Communities in transition and sustainable development.”
She added that the key to sustainability is the ‘heart.’ “People involved should sincerely care and feel for others. I don’t see anything sustainable if it’s not values-oriented,” Lopez said.
Dr. Michael Klaus, director of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Representative Office in Shandong, China, who talked on the topic “Governance and development: international experiences,” shared to the audience a rural development approach in Bavaria, Germany where the government plans together with the citizens.
“In this way, the valuable knowledge and experience of the local population can be integrated into the planning process,” Dr. Klaus said.
Another plenary speaker, Atty. Jonathan Malaya, assistant secretary for capacity development, public affairs and communication of DILG, discussed the sub-theme on federalism and explained its impact in the country.
“Federalism could solve the imbalance in economic development among regions and overconcentration of economic resources and power in the center,” he said.
The conference also featured a special session called “Strengthening Ties: Networking Meeting” where speakers, UPLB officials, and invited guests established linkages and partnerships.
Present during the conference were Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., and CPAf Dean Rolando T. Bello.
Chancellor Sanchez, in his welcome remarks, emphasized the value of participation and transparency in good governance. (John Glen S. Sarol)