Feature: The First 100 Days of Local Executives
The first 100 days report of new local executives reflects their political personalities and how they translate this in their planned development priorities. Some Mayors plan for political visibility, others pursue social urgency. In visibility, the focus is on physical infrastructures. In urgency the focus is on the socio-economic issues of their constituency. Visibility strives to create power to the persona of the leaders; urgency reflects their concern for the lives of their people.
First 100 days plans are indicative of what will happen for the next three years in office. Public administrators are expected to prioritize programs and projects based on the analysis of critical factors within their command.
Good thing if the plan about infrastructure programs is their high-profile and admirable economic projections. The bad thing, however, is that they are still plans for future realization – which are generally dependent on availability of money and the chances of hurdling bureaucratic glitches. On the other hand, socio-economic projects like livelihood or enterprise development, training or microfinancing support to basic economic activities, although perceptibly small in terms of representation, yet they create immediate impact because people feel them as concrete in real time. The strategy that was planned for Naga City during the first 100 days Mayor’s report is everybody’s concern and will be a kind of waiting game for the next three years.
Technically there are four elements of local public administration where plans can be based: the formal sector that includes agriculture, manufacturing and service industries of the SME-BL types of enterprises; the informal sector which includes the micro businesses and community-based enterprises or livelihood; banking and finance; support economic infrastructures; social services covering education, health, settlement, training and of course governance. These domains cover the entire framework for policy-making and strategic planning for local and area development. If these are considered in the first 100 days plan, then the blueprint is considered a development strategy. If not, then the plan may be interpreted as a political capital generation strategy, not necessarily leadership idealism.
Strategic public managers consider all these elements in local economic and area development planning only after a practical analysis when they decide which one will be their best entry point; those that will bring immediate impact to the people, their communities and development stakeholders with the least amount of resources and time, or those that will make the constituencies dream for a better life at some future time. For some practical executives the principle is which project can be implemented immediately and smoothly while still deciding for long-term physical and financial plans through popular consultations, or which programs can be done under the present laws and can be achieved with lesser resistance from political detractors and those known traditional enemies.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno simply implemented first the easiest things; cleanliness, orderliness, giving back to the people the public places within the bounds of existing laws and local ordinances. In this way he met lesser resistance except the usual belligerence of some who felt entitled to their crimes. His strategy attracted moral and financial support from many sectors. Now Moreno is daring to announce big-bucket infrastructure projects that will create more jobs, housing and other social welfare services.