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Gov’t PIOs urged to institute feedback mechanism for government programs

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The challenge facing government communicators today is how to make good national government programs acceptable to the majority of the Filipinos.

Philippine Information Agency Director General Jose Favia encouraged communicators and or information officers of government agencies and institutions to set up feedback mechanism on government programs and projects to be or being implemented.

He said that government needs a mechanism to determine what is wrong or what is lacking in government programs, citing his wide experience with government service as mayor and head of a government agency.

Noticeably, he said most government policies came from the national government and nothing came from provinces.

“Hindi lahat ng mga programang binababa ng national government at nakakabuti, or ang lahat na napag-isipan sa Maynila [minsan] hindi angkop sa local na pangangailangan,” DG Favia said.

He cited the case of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program being pushed by the Aquino administration which has been recently under fire because of its dole out strategy, saying that not all (even local chief executives and lawmakers) fully understands the program, thus requiring further studies.

The government, he said, has all the good intention about the program, especially in helping jobless head of families cope with economic needs—“may pantawid buhay,” he said. But it is still subject to abuse during implementation because of political intervention.

He said that it is indeed difficult to identify the poorest of the poor or those who needed the program most. When politics get into the picture, he said, those who do not need the program get to benefit first.

Because of some discrepancies in project implementation, the public shies away and doubts the programs.

Favia noted that if government programs are not accepted then it is also important for government to know why. And this could be done through a feedback mechanism.

Engaging the citizenry, he said, is very important, stressing that “Hindi dahil nasa gobyerno ka, ikaw na ang tama, kundi isasama mo sila para kasama silang mag-implement ng programang iyan at makipagtulungan. Dahil ang totoo, ang gobyerno, kahit anong gawin ng gobyerno, dahil meager ang resources nito, dahil kulang ang empleyado ng gobyerno ay hindi natin matugunan ang lahat ng pangangailangan ng ating mamamayan.”

Favia believes that with the help and cooperation of the people, all difficulties in project implementation could be surpassed. He said this has already been proven in the way government responded and involved the public during the recent calamity of a Typhoon 1 in Luzon, where information from the public facilitated government responses and actions.

The PIA Chief underscored the value of training and seminars like the recently concluded Mindanao Communicators Network’s (MCN) Research and Communication Planning seminar-workshop in general Santos City for government line agencies’ communicators to be equipped with tools and knowledge in making the public understand and accept the programs.

“Feedback mechanisms ay bumubuhay sa ating gobyerno, sa ating demokrasya,” he said, stressing the necessity to strengthen the bureaucracy—the people works in various government agencies and institutions, “magpapalit ng lider pero naiiwan ang bureaucracy.”

He thus encouraged government agencies to write more success stories, good stories that maybe channeled through the PIA with its links with the tri-media.

Favia also announced that government agencies can also channel their information campaigns and use for free the services of government Radyo ng Bayan radio stations nationwide, as per instructions received from the director of the Philippines Broadcasting Services (PBS).

By Rene V. Carbayas - PIA9-BST




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