Recollection on the First One Million People March: 4 Clues (4 P’s) as to Whether or Not We Are Actually Going Anywhere.

Political blogs are usually out of place within these corporate websites but also with an exception where it is meant to teach a valuable lesson in planning. Having worked with the Overseas Development Agencies (ODA) and in Economic Development planning for the past twelve years, I am no stranger to lofty ideals and Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAD) as the private sector would call them. In the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, a declaration of Eight Goals aptly called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was stated and has become somewhat of a Magna Carta for all development work worldwide. These goals included: Eradicating Extreme Poverty, Achieving Universal Primary Education, Promote Gender Equality and Empowerment among seven others that I am short of mentioning in keeping this article brief. Lofty and ambitious as they may be, and though we may still be ways in achieving them, there is evidence of the work being implemented.

“Matuwid na Daan” likewise is one of those principal statements that also sound very ambitious. However it was one of those statements that we all bought into. Who doesn’t want the eradication of corruption once and for all? I even I took a vote to see that we get rid of it in our generation. However, last August 26, 2013 I found myself in Luneta to join the first One Million People March. I even wrote a blog about it entitled: “Pork Paybacks and Picnics”, with a follow-through entitled: “The Pork Ball from Different Angles”.

We are on another pork rally again. This one in Ayala and my constant question starting from the 1st one would be: “OK, where are we now? Are we moving somewhere?” Even with varying agendas from the moderates to those that want an ouster, I believe that everyone is in agreement for the abolition of the Pork Barrel. This agenda however doesn’t look like it is progressing. With a multitude of issues such as Zamboanga and even that of Napoles, how far are we in terms of getting the pork out of our system?

Going back to my Development Economist days, where I worked firstly in Programme Management, Design and later on to Policy, I developed this mental model called the 4Ps. 4Ps have nothing to do with marketing but does put a tracker on many of those audacious goals we often work with. 4Ps stand for Principle, Policy, Process and Procedure (in that order). It is something I developed for myself in terms of how these goals can be broken down from something that is seemingly ethereal into something real, tangible and we could all benefit from. Looking at the 4Ps gives many of us working in the private sector, a role in how we achieve the Vision of our organizations. Let’s look at Pork Barrel under the 4Ps perspective in its ordered steps.

  1. Principle: “Matuwid na Daan” is about eliminating corruption. If there is no corruption, there is no poverty. Corruption is evil and all its forms and its instruments should be eradicated.
  2. Policy: The Pork Barrel is a proven instrument for corruption. Therefore it must be abolished. We need to make a policy statement that it will be abolished within a specific timeline. A policy is a declaration of commitment that we will not stray away from the conclusion that we do not want this flawed practice to exist any longer.
  3. Process: We must identify a fair process that states the rules of engagement and identify the key stakeholders for seeing that the policy takes effect. There needs to be visible signs that the process for abolishment is taking place, starting with transparent debates on how the policy will be implemented by whom and by when. Processes need to have an endpoint or deadline for implementation.
  4. Procedure: The last step is execution or implementation. At this point orders need to be dispensed and all actors are taking part in the phase out of the Pork Barrel under the scrutiny of the public and policy makers.

With this we could see that we are not even in step number One (Principle). Therefore we still have ways to go before we could actually realize the idea or “principle” of “Matuwid na Daan”. With step One, the responsibility often lies with the leader who is often the looked upon as the custodian of national principle. He is responsible for setting things in motion and pushing the larger agenda down the steps towards tangible realization.

The same goes for any organization that aspires to achieve lofty ambitions. Certainly, people do need to roll up their sleeves and leaders need to stick to their principles through action rather than words with short expiration dates. Sincerity is measured by action, not by promises. For now I am standing between the moderates and those who demand an ouster. However I do believe that if a leader cannot live with his espoused principles, then he ought not to be leader anymore.