Reinventing Public Service
When a shared vision and mission is pursued with greater consistency, transparency and political will, nothing can stand in the way of an effective reengineering intervention. Such is the case of Bulacan’s Reinventing Public Service Program of Bulacan.
The LGU’s vision was to create a strong middle class as the core of the citizenry with equal access to opportunities and services. However, in 1998, it faced many challenges. Among these were the need to improve the bureaucracy and reorient the employees, eliminate irrelevant systems and procedures, and raise the morale of the personnel by providing incentive mechanisms and overcoming resistance to change.
The local government’s first move was to reorganize its structures to maximize financial, property, and human resources. A major change was the merging of the Provincial Treasurer’s Office and the Provincial Assessor’s Office to increase efficiency and accountability, and ultimately increase tax collection. Initial resistance to this merger was eliminated through discussions with those concerned, and reassignments or financial packages for the displaced. The merger resulted in a reduced number of positions from 82 to 64 with minimal dislocation for the affected 22%.
Other changes involved the creation of offices, such as the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Office and the expansion of others into full departments, such as the Provincial Youth, Sports and Employment Development Office to focus on generating employment. Other offices such as the Provincial Environment and Natural Office and the Provincial Cooperatives and Enterprise Development Office were streamlined for efficiency. The Management Information Systems was upgraded to respond to computerization. Aside from systems and procedure improvement, the LGU set up a quality service improvement program in its offices, encouraged local participation in planning and budgeting, and provided incentives such as salary standardization, housing, awards, and scholarships to its staff.
The impact of the reorganization of the local government was immediate. Real property tax collection increased by 25.48% and total revenue from quarry tax, mining and other fees increased by 72% within a year. The province saved P13.8 M in personnel services and reaped a surplus of P5 M in 1999. Computerization provided greater accountability and transparency, improved information access and effective and efficient service delivery, and saved the provincial government P2.57 M. In terms of people’s empowerment, everyone in the provincial government could claim ownership of the reorganization effort. Overall, reinventing public service in Bulacan has resulted in quality and timely service to the people, and has contributed to their improved quality of life.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 2000 Galing Pook Awards.