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CPAf holds 1st international conference on governance and development

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by Stella Concepcion R. Britanico

The College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) held the First International Conference on Governance and Development (ICGD) on November 20-21 at the Acacia Hotel Manila, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. With the theme “Engendering Innovations in Governance towards Development,” the conference provided participants opportunities to present and exchange innovative ideas and learnings that could foster effective governance and development.

UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., in his welcome remarks, acknowledged governance as a timely and timeless issue. “Today, governance remains a critical issue as it determines whether or not a state is able to provide for the needs of its citizens and ensure their wellbeing and prosperity,” he said.

The conference recognized good governance central in achieving development. It covered four subthemes in its plenary and parallel sessions: 1) Governance and Development; 2) Federalism and Development; 3) Innovation Systems and Development; and 4) Communities in Transition and Sustainable Development.

Keynote speaker Rafael M. Alunan III related the country’s failure to meet the Eight Millennium Development Goals in 2015 to poor governance. The Philippines had “red marks for a number of them” he shared. “We failed to meet our commitment because of the poor quality of governance on the average at the national and local levels, characterized by negligence, corruption, lack of cohesion, and incompetence,” he said.

Mr. Alunan, who served as secretary of Department of Tourism (during the term of President Corazon C. Aquino) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos), shared some lessons in governance and public administration including the need to have effective leadership, collaboration, citizen-centric governance, and strategic management, among others. “You need to have key principles and strategies to guide your way,” he also noted. Mr. Alunan also called for cultural transformation – the need to transform from selfishness to selflessness, from self to public service, and from exclusion to inclusion.

Plenary speakers were Ms. Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez, former secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and founder of iLOVE Foundation who shared about iLOVE which stands for “Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economy;” Atty. Jonathan E. Malaya, assistant secretary for Capacity Development, Public Affairs and Communication of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, who discussed “Federalism and Development;” Dr. Yudo Anggoro, deputy director of Jakarta Campus, School of Business and Management, Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, who talked about “Government and Innovation: Sharing Session from Indonesia;” and, lastly, Dr. Michael Klaus, director of Hanss Seidel Foundation Representative Office in Shandong, China, who presented the “Local Government and Citizen Participation in Germany: Transfer of the German Experience to P.R. China.”

The conference also held a special session on “Strengthening Ties: Networking Meeting of Speakers, UPLB Officials, and Invited Guests.” Participants who came from the private sector, academe, and government agencies talked about possible areas of collaboration.

Another special session on “Finance and Taxation in Development” was held with the following speakers: Mr. Gil S. Beltran (undersecretary and chief economist, Department of Finance, Philippines), Mr. George John Bierlee (consultant, Asian Development Bank), Mr. Bruce Hutchins (chief of party, Facilitating Public Investment - United States Agency for International Development), and Dr. Rufo R. Mendoza (consultant, Public Finance Management).

Furthermore, the conference provided a venue for “Panel Expert Interviews” participated by Mayor Rommel A. Gecolea of Cabuyao City, Mayor Vincent L. Soriano of Municipality of Pakil, Dr. Anggoro, and Dr. Klaus.

The 1st ICGD was supported by the University of the Philippines System, Department of Finance, and other partner stakeholders. More than 170 students, researchers, faculty, and administrators attended the event.

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