Vertical integration of parallel concerns

>> Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ike Señeres

We do not know yet what new States will emerge in the proposed federal system of government for the Philippines, but suffice it to say for now that these will most likely be formed along the jurisdictions of the existing sub-national regions.
Although there are no existing formal government structures within these regions as of now, suffice it to say also that these will be formed out of what now exists within the present Regional Development Councils (RDCs). Of course, politics is politics and the people might want something else, but it is best to prepare as early as possible, starting with what we already know.
Looking back, it is really just political gerrymandering that caused the division of the big old provinces into the smaller provinces that now exists. For example, there was just one big Davao that is now separated into several provinces.
Same goes for the old Cotabato and the old Surigao. In the case of what used to be the old Davao and the old Cotabato, I do not think the people would mind using the old names for the new States. It could be different in the case of what used to be the old Surigao, because the people there might want to keep the new name Caraga as the name of the new State. By the way, Caraga is not an acronym like MIMAROPA. Caraga is the name of an old kingdom in the area, and it could still be a fitting name for a new State.
I think that as early as now, we could already predict that there will be at least three ministerial functions that would remain at the federal level, and these would probably be foreign relations, national defense and fiscal policy.
There would certainly be a number of federal agencies that would have to be formed, but these would no longer be at the ministerial level, meaning to say without cabinet rank. That said, it is possible to prepare as early as now to build the future infrastructure for State level governance, and these should include all functions other than the prospective federal functions that I earlier named.
As it is now, the RDCs are composed of the existing Provinces, and because of that, it could be said that these Provinces are now the building blocks of what could eventually become the prospective federal States. As it is now, all these Provinces would already have the existing Departments for the delivery of public services, such as trade and industry, labor and employment, education and health.
That being the case, it would be very easy for these Provinces to contribute their existing manpower and material assets so that the Departments at the prospective State level could be formed as early as possible, in a way that they could hit the ground running.
As it is supposed to be, the lower levels of the local development councils are supposed to submit their reports to the next higher level. For example, the Barangay Development Councils (BDCs) are supposed to submit to the Municipal Development Councils (MDCs), the MDCs are supposed to submit to the Provincial Development Councils (PDCs), and the PDCs are supposed to submit to the RDCs. Some of these councils may be doing that already, but right now it is difficult to compile the reports because the data is not structured, and there are actually no databases that could store the data. If only the databases could be built, it would be easier to cause the vertical integration of parallel concerns.
I am just using the term concerns in a general sense, because that could either mean functions or datasets. What is important to note however is that the data about these concerns could be gathered from the lower levels and submitted to the higher levels, thus ensuring the collection of real empirical data, instead of just inventing data from nowhere.
For example, it would be possible to gather health data from all the barangays in a municipality so that we would really know how many people are sick, so that we would know the resources that are needed to provide adequate healthcare services. I might sound too idealistic as I say this, but this is exactly what universal healthcare is all about.
By definition, a census is not the same as a survey, because the latter simply tests a sampling of the total data universe. The more accurate data source is a census, but the problem with a census is that it is taken too far in between, and the latest census data are already stale after a few years. The solution to that is to gather current data on the fly direct from the actual sources, and that is no other than the barangay level. In theory, it would actually be possible to conduct surveys at the barangay level with the quality of a census, because the data universe at that level is small enough to cover in so short a time.
To put things in the right perspective, I am obliged to say that information is simply just processed data, and information is simply just a tool for decision making. It goes without saying that all executives at all levels of governance should have current information at hand, in order to make the right decisions.
Without current information at hand, it could even be said that these executives would be negligent of their duties if they make decisions that are not based on current information. Suffice it to say therefore that the bottom line of this equation is how serious and how sincere these executives really are in performing their duties.

I am also obliged to say that information could be gathered even without computers, if and when these executives would really want to do it, no matter what. On the other hand, these executives no longer have any excuse not to computerize, because it has become easier to do that nowadays, and the costs are no longer prohibitive. As the saying goes, if there is a will, there is a way. If these executives could not find the political will to do it, they have no right to be in public service. If for any reason they could still find an excuse not to computerize because of certain objections, I would offer to help them computerize, so that all their objections would become moot and academic. Email or text +639956441780


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