Governance beyond the crisis

Dindo Manhit, President, Stratbase ADRi

The next six years will be crucial for Philippine society as it struggles to recover from the pandemic, build back better from the experiences and performances of the outgoing administration, and craft the future of our country.

Cognizant of the extant and emerging challenges that the Filipino nation confronts, Stratbase ADR Institute launched its book “Beyond the Crisis: A Strategic Agenda for the Next President” last May 20.

A veritable collection of 16 special policy papers, the institute proposes to the next government sensible and actionable recommendations in the areas of foreign policy and security, economy, social inequality, food security, climate change, and governance.

A major takeaway from the book is that only through innovative governance can the Philippine government address the multidimensional issues and demands of this crisis environment.

Innovative governance is the key to establishing disruptive leadership that will set into motion game-changing and meaningful reforms. It also puts in place a transformative government to guide the country toward recovery and inclusive development in the new normal.

For instance, the whole-of-government approach can be enveloped by or transformed into a whole-of-society perspective to resolve bureaucratic and administrative problems through multilevel government consultations and coordination.

Under such arrangement, sectoral and cross-sectoral concerns and demands will be addressed through different government agencies and departments with the active participation of the private sector and civil society.

A multistakeholder way of doing things catalyzes responsiveness in managing public and social affairs. In the case of addressing perennial problems like poverty, inequality, economic hardships, and corruption, a collaboration between the different social stakeholders is imperative.

Further, a multisectoral and multistakeholder approach to other challenges, such as health, social protection, and climate change, is evidently needed as these concerns require the involvement of all sectors.

To lure investments and expand the country’s infrastructure, an innovative government would take into consideration the combination of public and private efforts and harness public-private partnerships. It also prioritizes trust and shared understandings as the enablers of strong and productive public-private undertakings.

In the delivery of public goods and services, effectiveness and efficiency can be achieved through new and dynamic arrangements in the streamlining of government operations and services from the national, regional, and local levels.

Further, digital innovation will facilitate the integration of data and consolidate the fragmented and disparate delivery of public goods and services.

For budgeting, a blending of functional, geographic, and results-based allocations can be consistently explored to realize responsive budgeting and fiscal discipline.

In the realm of international relations, a strategic vision relies on having a comprehensive foreign and security policy and leveraging bilateral and multilateral alliances to defend and promote our territorial interests.

The book launch of “Beyond the Crisis” represents and signifies another distinctive attempt to propose evidence-based policy recommendations and options for the incoming president and administration.

It also brings to the fore of public attention valuable leadership and governance tips.

We offer this ensemble of expert policy recommendations to the next administration as a citizen-led policy initiative that shares the Filipino people’s common aspiration to uplift the country from the pandemic crisis and collectively solve our society’s urgent concerns.

Moving forward from a divisive election contest, a government that has a balanced and stable policy environment that aligns with public demand and social clamor will build the confidence and trust needed to push on and compete in what will hopefully be a post-pandemic economic swing to a prosperous and sustainable economic trajectory.

At the end of the day, governing beyond the crisis entails a new leadership that thinks and acts beyond politics.

This article was originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer Commentary.

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