Triple transformation

>> Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ike Señeres

Long ago I have already realized that enforcement and compliance are two sides of the same coin. To stress the obvious, enforcement is needed in order for citizens to comply, meaning to say that there could be no compliance if there is no enforcement. In ideal situations, perhaps in more developed societies, citizens would comply on their own initiative, but perhaps that is too much to expect from fragile democracies.
Now however, I have also realized that good governance and good citizenship are also two sides of the same coin, so to speak. Again to stress the obvious, good governance would be a difficult goal to achieve if there is no good citizenship, because these two goals should actually have a symbiotic relationship.
Participatory governance is now a popular buzzword in developing countries, but it goes without saying that the basic foundation of participatory governance is really good citizenship in the first place. Inclusive societies is also now a popular buzzword, but that too would need good citizenship as a basic foundation, because there would be no use of trying to include all sectors in the mainstream of society, if in the first place there is no good citizenship, or in other words, if the citizens are not even interested in being included into the mainstream in the first place. In order for good governance to happen, the government should be engaging, meaning that the government should engage the citizens in an interactive relationship, but that too would amount to nothing if the citizens would not respond.
For a long time now, I have been fascinated by the convergence of everything “green” and everything “blue”, having defined “green” as everything agricultural and everything environmental on one hand, and having defined “blue” as everything electrical and everything technological on the other hand. My fascination with the convergence of “green” and “blue” stems from my own belief that cities could not be “green” if these are not “smart”, having defined “smart” as having stable energy on one hand, and having stable connectivity on the other hand. I believe that these two should also have a symbiotic relationship, because it is not possible to have stable connectivity if there is no stable energy. It goes without saying that in order for energy to be “green”, it also has to be renewable.
As I struggled with the rationalization of these concepts, I eventually realized that something is missing in the convergence of these two “color codes”. Moving forward, I eventually concluded that the missing elements are everything social, and everything political. Having done that, I decided that “white” should be the “color code” for these two missing elements, symbolizing purity and transparency, or everything pure and everything transparent. Analyzing further what “white” really means, I realized that everything social should actually mean having good citizenship in place, and everything political should actually mean having good governance in place. In this context, I should clarify that politics is a neutral term that is not inherently bad. What is bad is the wrong practice of politics that is tainted with graft and corruption. Looking at this from another perspective, everything social should mean everything personal in relation to the citizens, and everything political should mean everything structural in relation to the government.
Since transformation is a process, it should have a clear outcome or a destination, so to speak. Some might argue that transformation is a journey rather than a destination, but I will not argue that anymore, for as long as we could recognize the outcome when we arrive at the destination. As I have defined it however, it is very clear that we are actually talking about three simultaneous processes, or three simultaneous journeys if you please, albeit with one and the same destination, to have a country that is at once “blue”, “white” and “green” (BWG).
Among these three processes or journeys, it would seem that “blue” is the easiest, because it is purely and simply technical. It would also seem that “white” would be the hardest, because it involves people (citizens) and institutions (structures). It would seem that “green” could also be difficult, but there is nothing that strong political will could not achieve.
Again just to clarify, I have used the term “cities” in a figurative sense, because it can actually refer to villages (barangays), municipalities and provinces also, the totality of which would constitute the whole country. Putting it another way, we should envision to have many “smart cities” that would collectively form the “smart country” ultimately. Being “smart” however is not enough because there are other attributes that we should aim for, and that is aside from being “green” of course. In that connection, I have coined SIGMA as a mnemonic device that collectively includes being safe, being intelligent, being green, being mobile and being agile.
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