“Country Governance Assessment Philippines” by the Asian Development Bank (ADB, March 2005: 10-151) is committed in supporting the reform agenda for improving governance in the Philippines through this evaluation. Governance is broadly defined as the sound exercise of political, economic, and administrative authority to manage a country’s resources for development.
It involves the institutionalization of a system through which citizens, institutions, organizations, and groups in a society articulate their interests, exercise their rights, and mediate their differences in pursuit of the collective good (ADB, 1995). With support from the Asian Development Bank, the study focuses on critical concerns of public management and prioritizes the governance and anticorruption policies for developing member countries (DMCs).
The absence of good governance is the reason why many countries—especially in the third world (also referred to as the DMCs by the Asian Development Bank [ADB])—continue to fail in their efforts at poverty reduction and in their quest for economic and human development. This assessment of Philippine governance focuses on the seven areas that hold major roles in attaining good governance: civil service and the bureaucracy, public financial management and fiscal administration, legal and judicial ystems, local governance and decentralization, electoral systems, legislative system, and civil society and governance. In each section it provides an overview and background of the area of governance; a discussion of the status or current conditions; emerging issues that may be addressed as areas for reform; and, strategic directions that may contribute to bringing about good governance. Apparently, as far as introducing reforms for good governance is concerned, the Philippines is not lacking in policy reform initiatives.
Failure in implementation is the problem and has been attributed to many factors, including the lack of political will, heavy partisan politics, inadequate financial resources, and graft and corruption. (“Executive Summary” 10) This assessment examines selected areas of governance to arrive at a sufficiently informed determination of strengths and/or weaknesses in government policies, institutional arrangements, and operational processes that impact capabilities to attain accountability, participation, transparency, and predictability in governance.
Insights derived in the process are used as indicators in appraising capabilities of government to fulfil its roles in the context of good governance or sound development management and in identifying directions for reform. Using existing references, documents, etc. the assessment aims to identify loopholes in policies and programs and organizational mechanisms and institutional arrangements, among others, that hinder good governance; and/or interventions for reform to address these weaknesses and gaps. ADB’s Introduction to Governance Assessment of the Philippines, 2005) Critically, policy support for good governance in the Philippines exists and is embodied in various constitutional provisions, executive orders, administrative rules and regulations, and policy judgements embedded in putting forth national development goals or agendas as explained clearly in the given assessment of the Asian Development Bank on ‘Toward an Agenda for Collective Good Governance’.
However, it is also cited that existing organizational structures and mechanisms, administrative and operational systems and processes, and overall institutional arrangements in each of the governance areas studied reveal liabilities in existing capacities for attaining accountability, transparency, and predictability in governance. The lack of good governance is manifested by the persistence of graft and corruption and related administrative problems, such as overregulation and red tape which ad been common to any government official that is why our country remains stocked in such unprogressive government situation. Enforcing or solidifying accountability is principally impeded by inadequacies in existing criteria to measure performance, and this consequently affects the effectiveness of mechanisms intended to ensure that desired standards of performance. (152) Hence, on its value judgment’s relevant point, without good governance many countries, especially developing countries, will surely decline in their poverty reduction efforts and in their pursuit for economic and human development.
Thus, the promotion of good governance should be enforced because it presents opportunities as well as challenges in bringing together the public and private sector, civil society, and community members in the tasks of evolving policies, programs, organizational and operational mechanisms, and institutional arrangements that can effectively respond to the needs of the people, ensure the rational and transparent use of public funds, encourage the growth of the private sector, promote effective delivery of public services, and uphold the rule of law efficiently towards an agenda for collective good governance. “Rationale, Objectives, and Scope” 16)