4 Government Leaders Gather for GoVergence III in Iloilo City

17 July 2017

Four government leaders met with thirty-nine (39) public managers and executives during the 3rd Career Executive Service (CES) Leadership Conclave held at the Richmonde Hotel, Iloilo City on 6 July 2017 organized by the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) in partnership with the Regional Association of National Government Executives (RANGE VI), Inc.

The 2017 CES Leadership Conclave Series, launched in February 2017 at the Diamond Hotel Manila, is anchored on the theme: “GoVergence: Cultivating Exemplary Service”. This gathering focuses on convergence for governance as a catalyst for sustained positive change. It emphasizes the need to promote synergism within and beyond the CES Community on the premise that amidst diversity lie opportunities to harness unique individual and organizational talents and resources through partnership, collaboration and cooperation.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog

Welcoming the resource persons, organizers and participants is Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog who expressed his delight on the decision to hold the third Conclave in the city. He explained the transformational change he introduced to make Iloilo City as one of the most livable cities in the country, through a united vision, a development plan for the city, the comprehensive land use plan and the political will to do what is morally right. He likewise impressed the group when he recited by heart the Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Gobyerno and the slogan, “I am from Iloilo and am proud to be a Filipino.”

Accordingly, this gathering gives the participants the opportunity to reflect that despite the challenges we are facing, we always survive and become stronger. He expressed hope that the event will also help renew our mission and commitment as public servants to create a better future for the Philippines as a nation and as a people. He likewise reiterated President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call for exemplary public service, of a leadership renewal, a no-nonsense public service and change in connecting with the citizenry and in improving service delivery. “We should find innovative ways to build a better future together,” he concluded.

Chairperson Ms. Irene M. Santiago, Government Implementing Panel for Bangsamoro Peace Agreements

“Magkakagulo ang Pilipinas kung hindi maipapasa ang BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law or the Batayang Batas para sa Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro! This is the best time for peace to be made in the Philippines because many of those holding sensitive positions in the Duterte Administration are from Mindanao,” says Ms. Irene M. Santiago, Panel Chairperson of the Government Implementing Panel for Bangsamoro Peace Agreements, being the first plenary session speaker. In her talk entitled - The Importance of Convergence in Governance, she narrated her experiences on her first year in government service. She quipped “it is like moving twelve elephants” and the “so many signatures required for the approval of the travel of one of my staff.” But, she remains undaunted in her task to make peace in Mindanao a reality.

She introduced some prevailing myths about conflict that “it is neither negative nor positive; it is just is. It is not whether we have conflict that matters but how we deal with it.” “The goal of conflict is not winning but problem solving.” She explained the difference between conflict and violence. While conflict is defined as a relationship between two or more parties who have, or think they have, incompatible goals; violence consists of actions, words, attitudes, structures and system that cause physical, psychological, social and environmental damage. She then introduced the concept of peace-building where contending parties instead pursue the work of peace-making and peace-keeping. She recommends that we pursue positive peace with attitudes, structures and institutions to create and sustain peaceful societies not just the absence of violence or fear of violence. “It is more of creating the optimum environment for human potential to flourish,” she adds.

Finally, for real peace to prosper, she recommends that we build these eight (8) pillars of peace such as - sound business environment, good relations with neighbors, high levels of human capital, acceptance of the rights of others, low levels of corruption, well functioning government, free flow of information and equitable distribution of resources. She informed them of the challenge of dismantling by the military of the seventy-three (73) out of seventy-five (75) armed groups found in Mindanao alone.

NAMRIA Deputy Executive Director Efren P. Carandang, CESO III

The second speaker is National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) Deputy Executive Director Efren P. Carandang, CESO III, who shared their agency’s journey towards transformation through various internal and external collaboration activities from his talk entitled Convergence Towards a Geospatially-Empowered Philippines. He narrated how their agency embraced collaborative governance and gave a premium on employee empowerment and engagement.

“The convergence of Human Resource and Organizational Development Initiatives provided a more conducive working environment for its employees,” he said. NAMRIA developed a Competency-based System composed of 8 core programs - career development, organizational design, employee relations, workforce planning, learning and development, performance management, recruitment selection and placement, and rewards and recognition. Accordingly, NAMRIA currently tops the Prime HRM Awards among government agencies and already has ISO 9001:2008 Certification.

The success factors, he mentioned, are the following: making HR as the most important resource by everyone; persistent support by management, treating government data as corporate/public data; Inter-agency collaboration based on leadership, openness, trust and transparency; and participatory approach, consensus building, iterative approach and shared ownership.

DOST IV-A Regional Director Alexander R. Madrigal, Ph.D, CESO III

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Director, Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal, shared his rich experience doing convergence and innovation in Region IV-A from his lecture entitled. “Govergence, Convergence for Governance: Catalyzing for Positive Change.” He said that we can work together in three ways – coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Collaborative leaders, like himself, he says, believe power is greater in a collective team; openly share information and knowledge, encourage suggestions and ideas from their team, facilitate brainstorming with their team, enable their team with immediate time and resources, allow roles and responsibilities to evolve and fluctuate, seek to uncover root causes of issues, offer immediate and ongoing feedback with personalized coaching.

By 2020, he said, fifty percent (50%) of the workforce will be composed of millennials, eighty-eight percent (88%) of them prefer collaborative work culture over competition and 25 % want a chance to prove their leadership ability on the workplace. Accordingly, there is no sure way to succeed in the future, it is dependent on iteration or doing the same thing better, innovation or doing new things or disruption or doing new things that make the old ones obsolete.

Director Madrigal then shared the three points on organizing for innovative work by Robert Sutton e.g. enhance variance or range of differences, see old things in new ways and breaking from the past. For innovation to succeed, he suggests setting a creative, non-judgmental environment, generate ideas, show leadership and develop a process to foster, to manage and to monitor innovation. He then cited the following barriers for innovation in government. One is, there is no clear mission or primary stakeholder; politics often intervenes, the agencies’ core competence is survival, management fads affect the public sector, middle managers don’t stay long, and the staff is often demoralized, not inspired or motivated.

He reported that the DOST Calabarzon is different. It has excelled in innovation in 2014, 2015. It is a consistent PQA awardee and leads in food safety, smart systems, info systems, biogas and laboratory services. Examples of local innovations in Region IV-A are the establishment of a Toll Processing Center in Region IV A in collaboration with Department of Trade and Industry and the academe, creation of a regional research committee, a database system to harmonize R&D activities in the region, and focus on R&D collaboration and networking. He cited as an example the Info Dissemination System called Project Handa and LGUIDS, are ICT-based systems developed that capture readings of sensors and bulletin from PAGASA, PhilVOC and NOAH to provide 24/7 active information to LGUs, RDRRMOs and citizens. Other innovations include the tactical operative amphibious drive (TOAD), HENYO Info System, RxBox Monitoring System, the DOST 4A TRACE or Document Tracking System, establishment of Embryo-cultured Macapuno Island, establishment of Center for Hazard and Environment Resource Mapping (CHERM), among others.

After the three (3) learning sessions, Mr. Edgardo P. Sabalvoro, Chief of the Professional Development Division of the CESB facilitated a re-imagining workshop entitled “CES Café. The participants, who were divided into small groups, were instructed to move from table to table to brainstorm on the future of the CES by the year 2022, the strategic executive learning and development interventions needed and the common values that have to be shared among government executives. This interactive workshop forced participants to establish partnerships and to meet new contacts in the province.