INTRODUCTION

The Public Service Ethics, Excellence and Accountability Program (PSEEAP) in the city of Iriga started with a two-day seminar-workshop on Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG). The seminar-workshop focused on the result of the SWS survey result which pointed out the three most vulnerable offices in the city to corruption as identified by the respondents as follows: City Budget Office, City Mayor’s Office, and the City Engineer’s Office. Although the result got varied reactions and some of it to the point of being defensive it has somehow opened their eyes to the reality that it is happening in the city and that something must be done to lessen it if not to totally eradicate it. Hence, the decision to adopt PSEEAP in the LGU operation.
Four (4) personnel of the city were sent to Manila for a rigid trainers’ training on PSEEAP facilitation. After the training, the Ateneo de Naga Center for Local Governance coordinated with the city regarding the implementation of PSEEAP which they will facilitated as the partner agency of The Asia Foundation-British Embassy funded program. The baseline survey was conducted dividing the questionnaire into two; the first half was to be administered by the Ateneo group and the other by the local team (LGU). The experience brought to the consciousness of the LGU that time constraint matters, the pressure was great to the point of doing it in a hurry so much so that the LGU felt that it was being started with the wrong foot forward. The result of the survey was not that acceptable to the LGU officials as compared to the one conducted by the SWS. The officials said that it was not actually the result or the data gathered but how it was presented. Negotiations were made with the Asia Foundation-British Embassy for the possibility of a re-survey and a change in the partner agency. They agreed to the request by just assigning a consultant instead of a team to facilitate the program but denied the request for a re-survey stating that the program can even go on without the baseline survey, anyway according to them the service audit workshop will have also to deal with it. The LGU subscribed to this and started the series of workshops covering all departments with Mr. Danilo Tagailo as its consultant/facilitator with the able help of the LGU Lead Trainers. The scheduled workshops were completed and the Celebrating Accomplishments (CELAC) was held dubbed as “Serbisyong MAGayon ka Ciudad na Iriga”.

GANITO KAMI NOON

The systemic corruption in the City of Iriga was draining resources, hampering economic growth, and worsening poverty. Effective efforts to counter corruption were among the highest development priorities of the present administration of Hon. Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, the City Mayor.
The 2007 SWS Survey of Local Government Unit on Good Governance under the Transparent Accountable Governance project of the Asia Foundation identified the three most vulnerable offices to corruption namely; the City Budget Office, the City Mayor’s Office and the City Engineer’s Office and found that on the average, firms bidding on government contracts allocate about 15-20% of a project cost for bribes. The survey also found solicitations of bribes to obtain local government permits and licenses as the second highest among key government transactions.
The growing indifference among the employees has come to an alarming proportion threatening the very fiber of excellent public service, accountability and transparency. Most of them were working for compliance only. The value and dignity of work have become irrelevant.
On the other hand, the local government was found to be moderately sincere in fighting corruption and 64% of business managers expressed satisfaction with local government performance in promoting a good business climate. These results underscores the importance and the timeliness of promoting counter corruption at the local level, particularly in Iriga City-generally the most economically dynamic area whose governance has more direct impact on the lives of the citizens and where the potential and demand for change may be greater on issues that affect citizens’ daily lives. Preventing corruption helps raise city revenues, improves services delivery and stimulates public confidence and participation.
This situation brought about the selection of three reform agenda: the PSEEAP, the RPTA, and the coalition Building – LGU-CSO and LGU-Business-CSO and effective citizen participation.

GANITO ANG AMING GINAWA
Service Providers

o Adoption of the City Character Program
o Continuous Total Quality Management program
o Regular meetings of Management Committee (MANCOM)
o Regular meetings of Administrative Officers
o Updated program of incentives for personnel

Systems and Procedures

o Office Brochures with basic information about its services
o Posted updated Flowcharts with the names of corresponding assigned personnel and the expected response time
o Improved feedback mechanism tool
o Implementation of Computerization Program

Physical and Structural Facilities

o Construction of a brand new city hall
o Homely and transparent offices
o A City Public Library with a state-of-the-art amenities
o A brand new public market

GANITO NA KAMI NGAYON

Service Providers

o Open communication between and among personnel to resolve work-related conflicts
o Greater awareness among the personnel of their role as service givers
o Maximized participation of personnel in all LGU initiated activities
o Renewed vigor and more enthusiastic delivery of services

Systems and Procedures

o Improved one-stop-shop
o Shortened processing time of pertinent documents
o More freedom in giving honest and sincere feedback
o Transparency is better applied now
o Greater opportunity for customers to participate directly or indirectly in the continuing development of the system
o Increased revenue collection by 28.7% per annum
o Increased number of organizations seeking accreditation

Physical and Structural Facilities

o Offices are strategically located
o Greater accessibility for transacting customers
o Waiting areas for customers are well-provided
o Office spaces are adequate and proportionate to the volume of customers
o Conducive business atmosphere manifested in the increased number of business permits being issued