EDITORIAL: Does Isko Matter to Local Executives

IF the answer is a quick Yes or No it will illustrate a shallow appreciation of the business of public governance. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is a live case study, not an issue for political debate. His case involves at least five aspects of modern public administration and management:

Locality: Definitely Manila is completely different from any city or municipality in the country in physical, environmental, social and economic aspects. A NO answer on this question is undeniably acceptable.

Personality: Maybe Isko Moreno is a hard copy to match or duplicate and people will understand that. Aside from being raised from the wombs of poverty Isko Moreno has been exposed in the glamorous world of the entertainment industry, danced with the wolves of politics and sought training from the best minds of outstanding international universities on the essentials of realpolitik, strategic management and sensible public governance.

Public perception: Filipinos in general is afflicted with a bandwagon mentality. Isko Moreno is lucky to have a helpful springboard for his first round of activities in view of the miserable image of the City of Manila compared with other cities in the Metropolis. But he is doing nothing new, just the basic duties of a city mayor: cleaning the city, putting order on the streets, opening the parks and thoroughfares to the public, disciplining and giving directions to city hall workers, and just letting people feel that there is a government that is tasked of implementing the laws. The reason why some mayors do not want to be compared with Isko Moreno is not what he is doing which is ordinary, but on how he is doing it which they are not prepared to do. International attention: Other countries and organizations bring their money and expertise where maximum media exposure is. Manila provides this platform so they are coming in droves to offer technical and financial assistance. Isko Moreno provokes attention and is able to maximize the use of social and traditional media. Maybe this reality is something that local executives could think of, explore but not brush aside.

Public Administration: The laws and principles of contemporary public administration is the same all over the land. They are expressly laid out in details in the local government code and in various criteria in rewarding good performance. Knowledge of these documents is a basic necessity for all local executives. Isko Moreno simply reminds his constituents of these requirements and gets their approval of what and how he is doing it. We maintain that Isko Moreno matters to local executives and their management teams - maybe not as a model but as a live example where they can learn more. Any assertion to ignore or repudiate his work and what is happening in Manila is childish. Remember arrogance is the opposite of humility.